By promoting cycling more, European cities can tackle problems related to overweight and obesity. This is shown by a study by Hasselt and the Flemish Institute for Technological Research (VITO) for the PASTA project of the European Commission, in which researchers look at the influence of transport choice on the body mass index (BMI). Strikingly, the electric bicycle appear to have less influence on the BMI than public transport or the ordinary bicycle.
For this research the researchers follow for a long time 2,000 city dwellers from 7 European cities including Antwerp. This shows that people who cycle daily weigh less than non-active people. The study was recently publish in the scientific journal Environment International.
A striking result from the study is that users of the electric bicycle not only have a higher BMI than the ordinary cyclist, but also users of public transport. In order, cyclists have the lowest body mass index, follow by walkers, people taking public transport and motorcyclists. Only then will the users of the electric bicycle come. Motorists have the highest BMI.
Men who trade the car every day for the bike to go to work, for example, or to buy, lost 0.75 kilograms of weight. In women, this weight loss was slightly less. Occasionally cycling causes people to maintain their current weight. By cycling regularly, people who are overweight prevent them from gaining extra weight. And people with a normal weight will therefore not become overweight or become obese.
According to the researchers, this study shows that cities should focus more on promoting active mobility. In this way, a solution can be offer for problems with overweight and obesity and the risk of related diseases. For the PASTA project, the researchers also list some good examples of measures that encourage active mobility in cities. You can find it here.