People who drive cars as their main form of transport are, on average, more than 8lbs heavier than those who cycle, an ongoing European study has found.
Researchers have been monitoring 11,000 people in seven cities throughout Europe, including London, Barcelona, Antwerp and Vienna. The participants have been asked about the mode of transport they use to move around their city and how much time they spend travelling.
They have also had their height and weight measured and been asked about their attitudes to cycling and walking.
An analysis of the data so far has revealed that people who drive cars as their main form of transport are, on average, 8.8lbs (four kilograms) heavier than their cycling counterparts.
The researchers acknowledged that they cannot definitely say that the mode of transport is the cause of this increased weight in some people, however, they plan to monitor up to 14,000 people in an attempt to draw firmer conclusions.
"People who are physically inactive are at higher risk of developing chronic diseases, such as cancer, stroke and heart attacks, as well as becoming overweight.
"Our research shows that factors like urban design, how we move in cities, and the use of cars, bikes or walking could all play an important role in determining the level of people's daily physical activity," they said.
They believe that getting people to walk and cycle more on a daily basis ‘is really an ideal solution to try to tackle this epidemic of physical inactivity'.
The study, Physical Activity through Sustainable Transport Approaches (PASTA), is funded by the EU.
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