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Walking, biking and taking public transit tied to lower weight

Thursday, August 21, 2014 – People who walk, bike or take public transportation to work tend to be thinner than those who ride in their own cars, according to a new study from the UK. The new findings – including that taking public transportation was just as beneficial as the other “active commuting” modes – point to significant health benefits across society if more people left their cars at home, researchers say.

“It seems to suggest switching your commute mode – where you can build in just a bit of incidental physical activity – you may be able to cut down on your chance of being overweight and achieve a healthier body composition as well,” said Ellen Flint, who led the study. Flint and her colleagues from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and University College London write at TheBMJ.com that physical activity has decreased along with the proportion of people taking active modes of transportation to work.

There is also evidence to suggest greater increases in obesity rates in areas with larger declines in active travel, they add. Active travel or commuting typically refers to walking or biking to work, but Flint and her colleagues suggest the term should be expanded to include taking public transportation, such as buses and trains. In their study, Flint said, they found people who reported walking to work weren’t walking far – about a mile or less.

“The walking that goes into commuting to public transport is a similar amount,” she told Reuters Health. While there is evidence to support a link between walking and biking to work and reduced weight, there is little research that also looks at people who take public transportation. For the new study, Flint and her colleagues used data collected from a national sample of people living in the UK who answered survey questions and were visited by a nurse. The researchers had data from 7,424 people on how much body fat they had and from 7,534 on their body mass index (BMI), a measure of weight relative to height.

In the survey, 76 percent of men and 72 percent of women reported taking a private mode of transportation – usually a car – to work. Ten percent of men and 11 percent of women reported using mostly public transportation and 14 percent of men and 17 percent of women walked or biked to work. After adjusting for traits or behaviors that may influence weight or body fat, such as socioeconomic status and other exercise, the researchers found that people who walked, biked or took public transportation to work had lower average BMIs and body fat percentages than people who used private transportation. “When you compare public transport to private transport the results are pretty similar to when you compare active transport to private transport,”

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Walking, cycling to work tied to slimmer waistlines

Active travel or commuting typically refers to walking or biking to work, but Flint and her colleagues suggest the term should be expanded to include taking public transportation, such as buses and trains.

In their study, Flint said, they found people who reported walking to work weren’t walking far – about a mile or less. “The walking that goes into commuting to public transport is a similar amount,” she said.

While there is evidence to support a link between walking and biking to work and reduced weight, there is little research that also looks at people who take public transportation.

For the new study, Flint and her colleagues used data collected from a national sample of people living in the UK who answered survey questions and were visited by a nurse. The researchers had data from 7,424 people on how much body fat they had and from 7,534 on their body mass index (BMI), a measure of weight relative to height.

In the survey, 76% of men and 72% of women reported taking a private mode of transportation – usually a car – to work. Meanwhile, 10% of men and 11% of women reported using mostly public transportation and 14% of men and 17% of women walked or biked to work.

After adjusting for traits or behaviours that may influence weight or body fat, such as socio-economic status and other exercise, the researchers found that people who walked, biked or took public transportation to work had lower average BMIs and body fat percentages than people who used private transportation. “When you compare public transport to private transport the results are pretty similar to when you compare active transport to private transport,” Flint said.

She and her colleagues write that the differences in body mass and fat would be noticeable. For example, men who actively commuted to work or took public transportation had a BMI score between 0.9 and 1.1 points lower than the men who drove themselves. That can be the equivalent of weighing about 7lbs (3.2kg) less for a middle-aged man of average height.

The men’s body fat was also between 1.4 and 1.5 percentage points lower among active and public transport commuters, compared to men who drove.

Similar results were seen for women, whose BMI scores were between 0.7 and 0.9 points lower among active and public commuters compared to women who drove. For a 5ft 4in (163cm) tall woman, the difference would translate to about 6lbs (2.7kg).

Amy Auchincloss of Drexel University in Philadelphia said the study’s results are strong because its data are from people living in many different areas, although the findings can’t prove that walking, biking or taking public transportation causes people to lose weight.

“But it appears from these preliminary data that not driving/not using automobiles will at least aide populations in healthier weight maintenance – if not directly lead to healthier weight,” Auchincloss, who was not involved with the new study, said in an email.

Other studies have also suggested that a more active commute to work has a variety of benefits, according to Anthony Laverty, who co-wrote an editorial accompanying the new study. “This study focuses on weight,” he said. “There are other studies that show people who don’t drive to work are less likely to have high blood pressure and diabetes.”

“If we had this big shift of people taking public transport, walking or cycling you would have these benefits add up,” said Laverty, of Imperial College London.

With obesity prevention already a focus of policymakers, Flint said working on getting more people to walk, bike or take public transportation may be worthwhile. “In Britain – in common with a lot of industrial nations – the vast majority of commuters use cars. Therefore there is a huge potential for an intervention of access to public transportation for health benefit,” she said. – Reuters

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Where are they now? Living at home and worried about the future, the …

  • 21 Up The New Generation stars were first filmed aged seven in 2000
  • They returned to screens aged 14, and are now back at 21 
  • Latest instalment will see many admit they have failed to reach their goals
  • Many are studying at university, but unsure about what to do next
  • Others are working, or struggling to find sporting success
  • Programme is a modern-day version of the original 1960s 7 Up series 

By
Laura Cox for the Daily Mail
and Sam Creighton for the Daily Mail

1

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comments

Seven years ago they were all teenagers filled with joyful optimism for their futures.

But pictured here at 21, the millennium 7 Up generation include school drop outs, sporting failures and many still living with their parents.

The 13 stars of the TV documentary, launched the first year of the new millennium in 2000 when they were all aged seven, return to our screens next week for the latest instalment and will see many admit they have failed to reach their goals and life is harder than they imagined.

Where is he now? John, who was first filmed as a seven-year-old returns for 21 Up The New Generation, which finds him at 21 having dropped out of school and working at his step-father's building firm

Where is he now? John, who was first filmed as a seven-year-old returns for 21 Up The New Generation, which finds him at 21 having dropped out of school and working at his step-father’s building firm

On the move: Ryan has learned to drive, making him more independent, and hopes to represent Team GB at wheelchair rugby

On the move: Ryan has learned to drive, making him more independent, and hopes to represent Team GB at wheelchair rugby

Those taking part in 21 Up The New Generation include John who dropped out of school at 16 and now works at his step-father’s building firm where he is learning the trade on the job.

Then there is Owen who at 14 was one of the best swimmers in the country in his age group and had visions of Olympic success, having been selected for a London 2012 talent squad. At 21 he is still living with his family in Cardiff and working 12-hour shifts dealing with PPI claims for a bank in order to save for a home of his own.

Talan, a rebellious teenager and self-confessed ‘loner’ often clashed with teachers and fellow pupils when he was filmed at 14. Now his living at home with his mother, step-father and step-siblings in Cornwall. Talan has been accepted to university but is unsure whether to go or to join the military. 

Uncertainty: Alex is spending a year of her King¿s College London degree studying in Paris, but she is unsure what the future will bring

Uncertainty: Alex is spending a year of her King’s College London degree studying in Paris, but she is unsure what the future will bring

Dreams come true: When she was younger, Alex loved the idea of traveling to exotic destinations and always imagined herself living abroad

Dreams come true: When she was younger, Alex loved the idea of traveling to exotic destinations and always imagined herself living abroad

It is Oliver who has proved to be the most successful of those taking part in this reality TV social experiment. Fortunate enough to have been privately educated at 14 and studying at Eton he was found to be a talented rower and able to secure a place at the Ivy League Yale University in the USA. As life as a student draws to a close his only dilemma appears to be where to go next.

Studying: Orala is studying at Reading University, but misses the creative buzz of London

Studying: Orala is studying at Reading University, but misses the creative buzz of London

The programme is a modern-day version of the original 7 Up series which started in the 1960s as an examination of the rigid class structures which existed back then.

The idea behind Michael Apsted’s 7 Up series was to test the Jesuit maxim ‘Give me the child until he is seven and I will show you the man.’

In the Sixties the project was considered to be a spotlight on class looking at who would be the shopkeepers of tomorrow and who would end up the bank managers.

The aim of the modern version appears to be to shift the guage to reflect the way in which we live now with the subjects selected from a wide ethnic and geographical mix. Some of them have Pakistani, Nigerian and Romanian parents and whereas the previous subjects were all based in England, the fresh batch are from as far afield as Belfast and Glasgo.

The 21st century version also reveals how much the traditional family structure has diversified since the original.

Series director Julian Farino, who adapted the 1964 series 7 Up to make the programmes, has followed the lives of the contributors closely.

Last night he said he felt responsible for the young people who had laid bare their hopes and dreams to him during the filming process.

Mr Farino said: ‘I have known the characters in our films since they were six years old and have been trusted with portraying them on film in an honest and intimate way aged seven, 14 and now 21 – it’s a strangely intense bond. They have become friends as well as subjects of the films, and I feel we have shared their highs and lows – the separation of parents, the deaths of relatives, the triumphs of achievements.’

So at 21 where are they now?

JOHN 

At 7: Claims he was in heaven when he flew in an aeroplane but said it was ‘boring’ sitting on clouds all day.

At 14: John loved BMX biking and music and remains passionate about them. He hopes they will take him all over the world.

At 21: Dropped out of school at 16 and now works at his step-father’s building firm, where he is learning the trade on the job. John still lives in his home town of Slough but moved out of his family’s house at 18

RYAN 

At 7: Had met Gemma at a club for children with disabilities and were ‘boyfriend and girlfriend’.

At 14: Ryan was frustrated by his cerebral palsy. He played wheelchair football and has dreams of becoming manager of Bolton Wanderers.

At 21: He has learned to drive, making him more independent. He lives with his mother in Bolton while studying for a degree in sports science. He has switched sports to wheelchair rugby and hopes to represent Team GB.

ALEXANDRA 

At 7: The daughter of a Romanian mother and English father, she was living in London but had often had to relocate because of her father’s job.

At 14: She loved the idea of traveling to exotic destinations and always imagined herself living abroad.

At 21: Spending a year of her King’s College London degree studying in Paris. But Alexandra is unsure what the future will bring – her boyfriend lives in London and her parents in Dubai.

JAMIE 

At 7: Jamie’s parents had split up and he spoke movingly about his father moving out.

At 14: He was just nine when his father died. So he was brought up by his mother and brother but decided to move out when he went to college.

At 21: Studying for a computer science degree at Queen’s University in Belfast and working part time as a computer programmer. He is interested in politics, volunteering for the Alliance Party, and wants to see an end to sectarianism in Northern Ireland.

SANCHEZ 

At 7: Very proud of his home in Chapeltown, a suburb of Leeds, he showed off his dance moves for the camera.

At 14: To play top level football for Leeds United. Sanchez joined the club’s academy at 14 and was given at professional contract at 16.

At 21: Sanchez is facing an uncertain future in football and is still living in his family home in Leeds.

ASIF 

At 7: The eldest boy of a large Pakistani Muslim family in Glasgow, he attended classes at the local mosque every day after school.

At 14: Asif was passionate about his faith, visiting the mosque up to five times a day. Having been diagnosed as dyslexic at 13, he was struggling at school and lacked confidence.

At 21: Busy studying for a degree in law at Paisley University.

ORALA 

At 7: Growing up in Hackney with her Nigerian-born mother.

At 14: Passionate about song writing and performance.

At 21: Studying at Reading University, but she misses the creative vibe of London, where she grew up. She tends to avoid the social side of university, which she says is too much about drinking.

OWEN 

At 7: The youngest child of a close-knit family in Cardiff, he was already showing promise in a number of sports and spent most evenings after school training.

At 14: One of the best swimmers in the country in his age group and had visions of Olympic success, having being selected for a London 2012 talent squad.

At 21: Living with his family but working 12-hour shifts dealing with PPI claims for a bank in order to save for a home of his own.

STACEY

At 7: Was seen dancing in her bedroom to the band Steps.

At 14: Stacey was painfully shy, something she found held her back. At 14 she had only left her home town once.

At 21: Found success as the only member of her family to go to university and graduated from the University of Lancaster. Unsure of what to do after graduating, she applied to teach English in China and is nos in Changsha, a city the size of London in Hunan Province.

GEMMA 

At 7: Gemma had bravely battled with the crippling condition Cervical Transverse Myelitis which she contracted aged 10 months

At 14: Gemma thought she might be married to her boyfriend Nathan by the time she was 21 and was set on going to drama school or pursuing a career in social care.

At 21: With a new boyfriend and studying for a degree in criminology at a university in Liverpool. Now that her mum has remarried and moved to London, Gemma lives with her sister in Bolton.

TALAN 

At 7: Talan was frequently excluded from the classroom and needed full-time supervision. He found it difficult to make friends and preferred to spend time on his own or with his pets.

At 14: He described himself as a ‘loner’. Despite finding it difficult to concentrate in class, often clashing with teachers and fellow pupils.

At 21: Living at home with his mother, step-father and step-siblings in Cornwall. Talan has been accepted to university but it unsure whether to go or to join the military.

OLIVER

At 7: Goes to an expensive school but is not preoccupied about being rich when he is older, he said: ‘”I don’t fancy being stared at through a fancy car window’.

At 14: Found himself to be a talented rower as a teenager at Eton.

At 21: Thanks to his rowing, Oliver secured a place at the Ivy League Yale University in the USA. But as life as a student draws to an end, Oliver is unsure where to go next.

COURTNEY 

At 7: From Kirkby, a suburb of Liverpool, Courtney dreamed of travelling the world, particularly America and Australia.

At 14: She had discovered she had a fear of flying, putting travel plans on hold. She also had high hopes of going to Oxford University.

At 21: Having realised Oxford was going to be too expensive to attend, she applied to study law in Liverpool and is about to begin her first year.

 


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After ISIS Beheading, UK’s Cameron Cancels His Vacation While Obama …

I’ve never considered Cameron to a particularly strong leader, but at least he has some sense of decorum.

Via NRO’s Jim Geraghty:

“U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron cut short his summer vacation to return to London and chair urgent meetings on the threat posed by ISIS in Iraq and Syria, calling the video ‘shocking and depraved.’”

Via The Washington Times:

The Washington Times suggests that Obama’s brief interruption of his vacation was meant to show that he still takes his job seriously.

“Being seen taking a vacation — biking, golfing, dancing — while both foreign and domestic affairs seem to be coming unglued isn’t likely to improve his image,” said Lara Brown, director of the political management program at George Washington University. “It is also the case that even if his public schedule does not ‘make news’ while he is Washington, he is able to have more in-depth meetings with those advisers and staff who are charged with handling these issues. In short, it looks good, but it also likely allows him to do more work than if he were still at Martha’s Vineyard.”

The price tag for that extra round-trip to DC so Obama could have his ‘hard at work’ photo-op? A cool $1.1 million according to Judicial Watch.

And now in the wake of  horrific news that ISIS beheaded an American citizen, the president back to the hot tubs, basketball, tennis and golf on a $12 million, 10-acre forested, beachfront estate in Martha’s Vineyard until the 24th.

At least we know that if ISIS’ victim had been a UK citizen, Obama would behave the same exact way. 

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Morvélo clothing brand on the rise

Brightly coloured with bold patterns, Morvélo cycle clothing doesn’t shy away from making a statement.

The Brighton-based company is the creation of Oli Pepper and David Marcar, who both previously worked as graphic designers before setting up the business. In 2009 and with £500, the pair made and sold some T-shirts, which proved popular, so they decided to create a cycling kit — something they could both wear out riding and sell to friends and family. That sold well, too, and orders were made by a number of shops.

Gradually, word of mouth spread and Morvélo grew, to the point where, two years ago, Marcar and Pepper left their design consultancy to focus on it full-time.

Although Morvélo focuses on cycling, Pepper and Marcar’s backgrounds are in extreme sports; Pepper used to ride BMX while Marcar skateboarded. This influence can be detected in their clothes, which are as suited to those competing in winter sports as to those riding on two wheels on the road.

Morvelo-jersey
The inspiration behind their designs comes from inside cycling and, outside, from music, film and art. “We try to pick on things in cycling culture that we really like, then we find influence through pop culture stuff, whether it’s music or other designers and blend them together,” said Pepper. “A lot of it is probably based on 1980s pop culture.”

But have they ever been worried their designs were too bold for cyclists?

“You can still, we like to think, have tasteful kit that can still be bold and brash and not necessarily too serious,” said Pepper. “A lot of our jerseys have matching bibshorts and caps. One of our friends said we create outfits, rather than jerseys and shorts.”

All-encompassing
Morvélo’s tagline is ‘Ride Everything’ and they describe their products as for every type of cycling. They sell both road and mtb jerseys for men and women, bibshorts, as well as caps, bags, T-shirts and accessories.

“That’s largely led, again, from our own experience in cycling,” said Pepper. “[We were] starting off in BMX in the Eighties, then getting into mountain biking in the Nineties, then doing downhilling, dirt biking in the Nineties, 2000s, then friends have said you should try road biking, so we’d try road biking,” he said. “I think if you enjoy cycling, the chances are you’ll enjoy all sorts of cycling.”

Books
One of Morvélo’s biggest challenges is ensuring its clothing is practical, as well as looks good, and for that 
it uses a Test Team — a network of cyclists in the 
UK and around the world who try out their products. “It started off as being friends, or friends of friends, and then it’s all been word of mouth,” said Pepper. “The type of people we look to are experienced cyclists, who then can accurately feed back on the products.”

Collaboration like this is something Morvélo has embraced across the business. Its most recent partnership was with London-based artist Death Spray Custom, who designed the official Tour de France team bikes for Cannondale this year.

They transformed one of the artist’s monochrome lightning bolt prints into a limited-edition clothing range released earlier this summer, which sold out almost straight away.
Morvélo has also partnered with a number of cycling events such as Brighton Big Dog mountain bike race, CityCross — a city cyclo-cross race and festival, and the Spin Up in a Brewery cycling festival with Dark Star.

The company is entirely self-financed and its growth has been “organic” said Pepper. “We wanted Morvélo to be a company that was active in the cycling world, and people feel if they buy Morvélo products they are supporting something more grass-roots that is involved in the cycle industry, that isn’t just taking from it but giving something back.”

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Walking, biking and taking public transportation tied to lower weight

LakeMichiganbiker.jpg

A jogger and a cyclist make their way around Lake Michigan in Chicago, March 21, 2014. (REUTERS/Jim Young)

People who walk, bike or take public transportation to work tend to be thinner than those who ride in their own cars, according to a new study from the UK.

The new findings – including that taking public transportation was just as beneficial as the other “active commuting” modes – point to significant health benefits across society if more people left their cars at home, researchers say.

“It seems to suggest switching your commute mode – where you can build in just a bit of incidental physical activity – you may be able to cut down on your chance of being overweight and achieve a healthier body composition as well,” said Ellen Flint, who led the study.

Flint and her colleagues from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and University College London write at TheBMJ.com that physical activity has decreased along with the proportion of people taking active modes of transportation to work.

There is also evidence to suggest greater increases in obesity rates in areas with larger declines in active travel, they add.

Active travel or commuting typically refers to walking or biking to work, but Flint and her colleagues suggest the term should be expanded to include taking public transportation, such as buses and trains.

In their study, Flint said, they found people who reported walking to work weren’t walking far – about a mile or less.

“The walking that goes into commuting to public transport is a similar amount,” she told Reuters Health.

While there is evidence to support a link between walking and biking to work and reduced weight, there is little research that also looks at people who take public transportation.

For the new study, Flint and her colleagues used data collected from a national sample of people living in the UK who answered survey questions and were visited by a nurse. The researchers had data from 7,424 people on how much body fat they had and from 7,534 on their body mass index (BMI), a measure of weight relative to height.

In the survey, 76 percent of men and 72 percent of women reported taking a private mode of transportation – usually a car – to work. Ten percent of men and 11 percent of women reported using mostly public transportation and 14 percent of men and 17 percent of women walked or biked to work.

After adjusting for traits or behaviors that may influence weight or body fat, such as socioeconomic status and other exercise, the researchers found that people who walked, biked or took public transportation to work had lower average BMIs and body fat percentages than people who used private transportation.

“When you compare public transport to private transport the results are pretty similar to when you compare active transport to private transport,” Flint said.

She and her colleagues write that the differences in body mass and fat would be noticeable. For example, men who actively commuted to work or took public transportation had a BMI score between 0.9 and 1.1 points lower than the men who drove themselves. That can be the equivalent of weighing about seven pounds less for a middle aged man of average height.

The men’s body fat was also between 1.4 and 1.5 percentage points lower among active and public transport commuters, compared to men who drove.

Similar results were seen for women, whose BMI scores were between 0.7 and 0.9 points lower among active and public commuters compared to women who drove. For a 5-foot 4-inch woman the difference would translate to about 6 lbs.

Amy Auchincloss of Drexel University in Philadelphia said the study’s results are strong because its data are from people living in many different areas, although the findings can’t prove that walking, biking or taking public transportation causes people to lose weight.

“But at minimum it appears from these preliminary data that not driving/not using automobiles will at least aide populations in healthier weight maintenance – if not directly lead to healthier weight,” Auchincloss, who was not involved with the new study, said in an email.

Other studies have also suggested that a more active commute to work has a variety of benefits, according to Anthony Laverty, who co-wrote an editorial accompanying the new study.

“This study focuses on weight,” he said. “There are other studies that show people who don’t drive to work are less likely to have high blood pressure and diabetes.”

“If we had this big shift of people taking public transport, walking or cycling you would have these benefits add up,” said Laverty, of Imperial College London.

With obesity prevention already a focus of policymakers, Flint said working on getting more people to walk, bike or take public transportation may be worthwhile.

“In Britain – in common with a lot of industrial nations – the vast majority of commuters use cars. Therefore there is a huge potential for an intervention of access to public transportation for health benefit,” she said.

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Walking, biking and taking public transit tied to lower weight

By Andrew M. Seaman

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – People who walk, bike or take public transportation to work tend to be thinner than those who ride in their own cars, according to a new study from the UK.

The new findings – including that taking public transportation was just as beneficial as the other “active commuting” modes – point to significant health benefits across society if more people left their cars at home, researchers say.

“It seems to suggest switching your commute mode – where you can build in just a bit of incidental physical activity – you may be able to cut down on your chance of being overweight and achieve a healthier body composition as well,” said Ellen Flint, who led the study.

Flint and her colleagues from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and University College London write at TheBMJ.com that physical activity has decreased along with the proportion of people taking active modes of transportation to work.

There is also evidence to suggest greater increases in obesity rates in areas with larger declines in active travel, they add.

Active travel or commuting typically refers to walking or biking to work, but Flint and her colleagues suggest the term should be expanded to include taking public transportation, such as buses and trains.

In their study, Flint said, they found people who reported walking to work weren’t walking far – about a mile or less.

“The walking that goes into commuting to public transport is a similar amount,” she told Reuters Health.

While there is evidence to support a link between walking and biking to work and reduced weight, there is little research that also looks at people who take public transportation.

For the new study, Flint and her colleagues used data collected from a national sample of people living in the UK who answered survey questions and were visited by a nurse. The researchers had data from 7,424 people on how much body fat they had and from 7,534 on their body mass index (BMI), a measure of weight relative to height.

In the survey, 76 percent of men and 72 percent of women reported taking a private mode of transportation – usually a car – to work. Ten percent of men and 11 percent of women reported using mostly public transportation and 14 percent of men and 17 percent of women walked or biked to work.

After adjusting for traits or behaviors that may influence weight or body fat, such as socioeconomic status and other exercise, the researchers found that people who walked, biked or took public transportation to work had lower average BMIs and body fat percentages than people who used private transportation.

“When you compare public transport to private transport the results are pretty similar to when you compare active transport to private transport,” Flint said.

She and her colleagues write that the differences in body mass and fat would be noticeable. For example, men who actively commuted to work or took public transportation had a BMI score between 0.9 and 1.1 points lower than the men who drove themselves. That can be the equivalent of weighing about seven pounds less for a middle aged man of average height.

The men’s body fat was also between 1.4 and 1.5 percentage points lower among active and public transport commuters, compared to men who drove.

Similar results were seen for women, whose BMI scores were between 0.7 and 0.9 points lower among active and public commuters compared to women who drove. For a 5-foot 4-inch woman the difference would translate to about 6 lbs.

Amy Auchincloss of Drexel University in Philadelphia said the study’s results are strong because its data are from people living in many different areas, although the findings can’t prove that walking, biking or taking public transportation causes people to lose weight.

“But at minimum it appears from these preliminary data that not driving/not using automobiles will at least aide populations in healthier weight maintenance – if not directly lead to healthier weight,” Auchincloss, who was not involved with the new study, said in an email.

Other studies have also suggested that a more active commute to work has a variety of benefits, according to Anthony Laverty, who co-wrote an editorial accompanying the new study.

“This study focuses on weight,” he said. “There are other studies that show people who don’t drive to work are less likely to have high blood pressure and diabetes.”

“If we had this big shift of people taking public transport, walking or cycling you would have these benefits add up,” said Laverty, of Imperial College London.

With obesity prevention already a focus of policymakers, Flint said working on getting more people to walk, bike or take public transportation may be worthwhile.

“In Britain – in common with a lot of industrial nations – the vast majority of commuters use cars. Therefore there is a huge potential for an intervention of access to public transportation for health benefit,” she said.

SOURCE: http://bit.ly/YuljgS TheBMJ, online August 19, 2014.

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Walking, biking and taking public transit tied to lower weight

By Andrew M. Seaman

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – People who walk, bike or take public transportation to work tend to be thinner than those who ride in their own cars, according to a new study from the UK.

The new findings – including that taking public transportation was just as beneficial as the other “active commuting” modes – point to significant health benefits across society if more people left their cars at home, researchers say.

“It seems to suggest switching your commute mode – where you can build in just a bit of incidental physical activity – you may be able to cut down on your chance of being overweight and achieve a healthier body composition as well,” said Ellen Flint, who led the study.

Flint and her colleagues from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and University College London write at TheBMJ.com that physical activity has decreased along with the proportion of people taking active modes of transportation to work.

There is also evidence to suggest greater increases in obesity rates in areas with larger declines in active travel, they add.

Active travel or commuting typically refers to walking or biking to work, but Flint and her colleagues suggest the term should be expanded to include taking public transportation, such as buses and trains.

In their study, Flint said, they found people who reported walking to work weren’t walking far – about a mile or less.

“The walking that goes into commuting to public transport is a similar amount,” she told Reuters Health.

While there is evidence to support a link between walking and biking to work and reduced weight, there is little research that also looks at people who take public transportation.

For the new study, Flint and her colleagues used data collected from a national sample of people living in the UK who answered survey questions and were visited by a nurse. The researchers had data from 7,424 people on how much body fat they had and from 7,534 on their body mass index (BMI), a measure of weight relative to height.

In the survey, 76 percent of men and 72 percent of women reported taking a private mode of transportation – usually a car – to work. Ten percent of men and 11 percent of women reported using mostly public transportation and 14 percent of men and 17 percent of women walked or biked to work.

After adjusting for traits or behaviors that may influence weight or body fat, such as socioeconomic status and other exercise, the researchers found that people who walked, biked or took public transportation to work had lower average BMIs and body fat percentages than people who used private transportation.

“When you compare public transport to private transport the results are pretty similar to when you compare active transport to private transport,” Flint said.

She and her colleagues write that the differences in body mass and fat would be noticeable. For example, men who actively commuted to work or took public transportation had a BMI score between 0.9 and 1.1 points lower than the men who drove themselves. That can be the equivalent of weighing about seven pounds less for a middle aged man of average height.

The men’s body fat was also between 1.4 and 1.5 percentage points lower among active and public transport commuters, compared to men who drove.

Similar results were seen for women, whose BMI scores were between 0.7 and 0.9 points lower among active and public commuters compared to women who drove. For a 5-foot 4-inch woman the difference would translate to about 6 lbs.

Amy Auchincloss of Drexel University in Philadelphia said the study’s results are strong because its data are from people living in many different areas, although the findings can’t prove that walking, biking or taking public transportation causes people to lose weight.

“But at minimum it appears from these preliminary data that not driving/not using automobiles will at least aide populations in healthier weight maintenance – if not directly lead to healthier weight,” Auchincloss, who was not involved with the new study, said in an email.

Other studies have also suggested that a more active commute to work has a variety of benefits, according to Anthony Laverty, who co-wrote an editorial accompanying the new study.

“This study focuses on weight,” he said. “There are other studies that show people who don’t drive to work are less likely to have high blood pressure and diabetes.”

“If we had this big shift of people taking public transport, walking or cycling you would have these benefits add up,” said Laverty, of Imperial College London.

With obesity prevention already a focus of policymakers, Flint said working on getting more people to walk, bike or take public transportation may be worthwhile.

“In Britain – in common with a lot of industrial nations – the vast majority of commuters use cars. Therefore there is a huge potential for an intervention of access to public transportation for health benefit,” she said.

SOURCE: http://bit.ly/YuljgS TheBMJ, online August 19, 2014.

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Travel Channel UK & EMEA Continues World’s Greatest Motorcycle Rides …

SPI International

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LONDON: Scripps Networks UK EMEA has made a new commission for Travel Channel with World’s Greatest Motorcycle Rides: Balkans, featuring Henry Cole.

The new 5×1-hour show marks Cole’s 13th series in the franchise. Produced by HCA Entertainment, the series is headed into production early next month for broadcast in Q1 2015. It is set to air on Travel Channel across all the U.K. and EMEA feeds.

The commission is the latest in a range of new programs for Scripps Networks UK EMEA, which include Reza Spice Prince of Thailand and Reza Spice Prince of Vietnam, a second series of Siba’s Table, and a new project for Siba Mtongana, Siba’s Kitchen (working title). 

Gareth Williams, VP of commissioning at Scripps Networks for the U.K. and EMEA, said: “World’s Greatest Motorcycle Rides is one of our most popular series and we’re looking forward to bringing yet another dynamic journey to the screen, as we build upon our long and successful relationship with HCA Entertainment. With a fresh new look and Henry Cole at the core, we are sure that our new commission will entertain viewers, as Henry sets off on a new adventure to discover and explore this stunning and important region.”

Cole said: “As a news cameraman in the 1990s I spent time in the Balkans. I’ve yearned to return to ride through the region to find out how things have changed and also to reveal some of the area’s best biking roads. I can’t wait to get there!”

 

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