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Study Shows Link Between Car Ownership and Decrease in Physical Activity
A study published in the journal The BMJ tracked a group of adults in Beijing, China after they won a randomized lottery allowing them to purchase vehicle permits. "The study found that getting a car had a significant impact on people’s physical activity. They walked less. They cycled less. They used less public transit," reports Susan Perry.
Ninety-one percent of the 180 people in the survey sample who won permits ended up getting cars. This allowed researchers to compare their activity levels and travel behavior to individuals who did not own cars. In addition to fewer transit rides and less cycling, individuals over the age of 50 gained an average of 23 pounds.
"These results offer a message for all us. They suggest that the ways we — as individuals and as a society — choose to transport ourselves, particularly in our cities, can have a direct impact on our health," adds Perry.