Will my Ford make me fat?
John “Cycle-yourself-skinny” Pucher and his research buddies seem to think so.
A recent study by Pucher, cited in a TreeHugger article (and recommended to me by my always-in-the-know friend Annalise), found that cities with higher levels of “active transportation”—i.e. walking and cycling—tended to have lower levels of adult obesity.
Pucher’s study compared both U.S. and international cities and concluded that in places where people engaged in active transportation, there was:
- A higher percentage of adults who achieved recommended levels of physical activity,
- A lower percentage of adults with obesity, and
- A lower percentage of adults with diabetes.
Did you notice? Pucher rarely, if ever, engages in environmental, climate change, or other tree-hugger messaging.
How cool is it that his “Cars make you fat” research makes convincing arguments for active transportation without even dipping a toe in the environmentalism pool? I’ve made a similar argument, though less convincingly than Pucher’s quantitative data.
The truth is, “active transportation” is like Jenny Craig, Richard Simmons, and Rachel Carson all rolled into one.
But Pucher doesn’t even need to bother himself with the environmental rationale. His argument is convincing on one pillar alone, which I find to be remarkably powerful. I also find it to be quite affirming of my daily habits and choices.
It’s not very difficult to decipher what the best transportation options are—for our bodies, for our minds, for our world.
Thanks, Annalise, for the fat-free food for thought!