Study: Taking Public Transportation May Make You More Fit

Life & Love | Gerren Keith Gaynor | 08/22/2014 | 01:30 PM EDT

Those to opt to commute via bus or train have lower body weight and fat composition

The stress that comes with commuting via public transportation just may be worth the headache, according to a new study.

Researchers from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and University College London found that walking, cycling and public transportation to work are linked to lower body weight and lower body fat composition.


Compared with commuters who travel by car, non-drivers had lower Body Mass Index (BMI) scores.

Researchers collected and assessed 7,534 BMI measurements and 7,424 body fat percentage measurements from participants. Men who used public or active transport modes--which includes walking or cycling--on average had a BMI score one percent lower than those who commuted by car. That is about 6.5 pounds in overall body weight.

For women, BMI scores were an average of 0.7 points lower than those who traveled by vehicle car, an average reduction in overall body weight of 5.5 pounds.

For body fat percentage, the reduction was similar in size and significance, even after researchers accounted for more controlled variables such as age-related differences, socio-economic discrepancy, diet and level of physical activity in the workplace.

Of the thousands of participants screened, 76 percent of men and 72 percent of women said they commute by means of private motorized vehicles, while 14 percent of men and 17 percent of women walked or cycled to the office.


Average BMI scores came in at 28 for men and 27 for women, indicating that most participants were overweight. The ideal BMI score is between 18.5 and 24.9, according to reports.

(Photo: Bebeto Matthews/AP Photo)

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