Health

Driving For More Than An Hour A Day Can Make You Fat

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Spending more than an hour behind the wheel a day can trigger a 5-pound weight gain, according to a new study. Driving for long periods can also add more than 1.5cm of dangerous fat to a person’s waistline.

Professor Takemi Sugiyama led the new study at the Australian Catholic University’s Institute of Health and Ageing. He explains that prolonged sitting is directly associated with higher total and central adiposity along with an adverse cardio-metabolic risk profile.

The research observed the driving habits of 2,800 adults along with their body mass index, waist circumference, fasting plasma glucose and symptoms that relate to diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. The new study also raised the risk of an early death since being sedentary increases the risk of health issues such as diabetes and heart diseases.

Past studies have concluded that carrying extra weight near the abdomen area led to an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks, stroke and even diabetes. A similar study found that adults who carried fat near their waists were exposed to early death twice as much as people who were overweight or obese.

Researchers believe that when fat accumulates near the internal organs, an inflammatory chemical is released that disrupts vital processes in the body including blood pressure, blood clots and metabolism. Men compared to women are the most at risk since they spend more time behind the wheel, according to Daily Mail.

Around 86 percent of people based in the United States use their car as their main form of transportation when going to work, according to Science News Journal. In a study conducted in March, 150,000 British individuals who walked, cycled or took public transport to work had less body fat and lower BMI. The same study found that cycling to work instead of driving offered a weight difference of 11 pounds.

Fortunately, transport sectors have actively been trying to promote active travel to reduce pollution, minimize congestion and the proliferation of transport-related infrastructure. Professor Sugiyama says that these efforts can further be supported by producing compelling evidence of the adverse health impacts of prolonged time spent driving in cars.

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