Increased Use Of Public Transport May Decrease Obesity Rate: Diet Tips That May Help Too

According to a latest study, using public transportation often may work wonders in lowering obesity rates.

Increased Use Of Public Transport May Decrease Obesity Rate: Diet Tips That May Help Too

Obesity is one of the most prevalent health concerns in the global good and health sector. Obesity is characterised by excess body fat. According to a latest study, using public transportation often may work wonders in lowering obesity rates. The study, conducted by researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Georgia Tech, said that using public transport helps increase daily physical activity of obese individuals, further help them manage the problem. The researchers compared and analysed data from 2001 and 2009. The findings were published in the journal Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice.

The findings also said that a single percentage-point increase in mass transit ridership is linked with a 0.473 percentage-point lower obesity rate in counties across the United States.

Speaking about the study, co-author Sheldon H. Jacobson said, "Opting for mass transit over driving creates opportunities for exercise that may otherwise not exist."

Unlike stepping out of your house and walking straight into your car, using public transportation prompts you to walk from your home to a bus stop, which is very fruitful in maintaining your fitness levels.

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The researchers stated a computational analysis of publicly available health, transportation, and census data across 227 counties from 45 states in 2001 and 2009.The team took into account the differences in economic and lifestyle factors, including leisure-time exercise, household income, health care coverage, and public transit funding.

Previously, it has been found that each percentage-point increase in a country's public transit use was associated with 0.221 percentage-point lower obesity rate.

Speaking about the study, co-author Douglas M. King said the new work took a longitudinal approach, meaning they examined differences between 2001 and 2009, allowing them to better control factors that could otherwise influence the analysis.

"For example, factors like weather or physical geography that can influence the obesity rate of a county in both 2001 and 2009 are controlled since their impact is present in both time periods," King added.


In terms of magnitude, the studies may differ, but in terms of statistical analysis they are in tandem. Both of them suggest that increased public transit usage is associated with a reduction in a country's obesity rate.

While Jacobson admitted that because the analysis was done at the country level, its implications for an average person was not clear, he went on to add that the results indicate that when more people opt to use public transit, the county-level obesity rate tends to drop. However, he added that it does not necessarily imply that any one particular person is less likely to be obese if they ride transit frequently.

The study was based on data collected in 2001 and 2009, when rail and bus were the primary modes of public transportation in the United States.

"It will be interesting to see how Uber and Lyft, as well as bike-share programmes will influence this type of analysis in the future," Jacobson said, adding, "Our research suggests that investing in public transit can provide more efficient transportation options that not only help the environment but may also offer public health benefits.

Diet Tips To Manage Obesity

Your diet forms a crucial component of your overall body weight. Unhealthy eating habits - that involve bingeing in sugary foods, trans-fats and processed junk - may up risk of obesity severely. Here are some diet tips that may help cut down the risk of obesity.

  • Ditch refined products and go for whole grain varieties. Try swapping refined breads, flour and biscuits, with multigrain versions as they are much richer in fibre. Fibre helps induce satiety, which promotes weight loss.
  • Opt for lean proteins like chicken and fish over fatty red meat, as they help you with your daily protein fill and ensure you do not have a lot of fat.
  • Whole fruits are any day a better option than fruit juices. Juicing fruits may make you cost out on essential fibres.
  • Do not aimlessly eliminate carbohydrates from your diet; they are essential to keep you energised and fuelled. Make sure you make wise choices. Include more complex carbs over the refined ones you find in sugar, cookies and breads. 

Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.

(With inputs ANI)