Travel By Car Driving Obesity Epidemic, Say Researchers

Holiday travel by car might be less expensive than flying, a train trip or a Christmas cruise to festive destinations, but new research urges caution while driving – not for safety’s sake, but because of a direct relationship suggested between body mass index (BMI), calories consumed and automobile travel.

A new study by University of Illinois researchers suggests that both daily automobile travel and calories consumed are related to body weight. Reducing either one, even a little bit, correlates with a reduction in body mass index (BMI), the study found.

“We’re saying that making small changes in travel or diet choices may lead to comparable obesity reduction, which implies that travel-based interventions may be as effective as dietary interventions,” says graduate student Banafsheh Behzad in a Business Standard report.

Using publicly available data on national average BMI, caloric intake and driving habits, the study found that driving just one mile a day less can make a difference.

“One mile is really not much,” Behzad says. “If they would just consider even taking the bus, walking the distance to the bus stop could have an impact like eating 100 calories less per day. The main thing is paying attention to caloric intake and moving more, together, can help reduce BMI.”

Great idea. But if I walked to the bus stop I would have to swing by the gas station on the way to buy donuts, “for the trip,” throwing the national BMI way off track.

On the other hand, childhood obesity is declining, probably because little kids don’t drive. This video tells the story:

[Photo Credit- Flickr user mor10am]