Drive Less, Lose More Weight

Obesity linked to driving

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) What part of your day is spent driving in a car? For most Americans, driving is the main mode of transportation to get to and from work.

Cars have become such a large part of our society. Research suggests we should minimize car use because it may be a cuplrit that is contributing to the increasing national obesity rates.

"Drive less, walk and bike more, lose weight."

The University of Illinois believes that the root problem to the obesity epidemic could be our dependence on cars. Researchers, Sheldon H. Jacobson and colleagues, analyzed data from the national statistics between1985 and 2007.

Jacobson measured the annual time spent driving in a car in relation to obesity rates. The time spent driving in a car is time spent doing nothing.

The more we drive the more nothing we're doing and the less energy we're using. Jacobson says obesity is an "energy imbalance" so we have to use energy to keep the balance in our body.

The study finds vehicle use correlates 99 percent with annual national obesity rates. Jacobson found that developing countries that are incoporating passenger vehicles to their daily routine also have increasing obesity rates.

Jacobson suggests " licensed driver [should] reduce their travel by one mile per day, [then] in six years the adult obesity rate would be 2.16 percent lower...not only will our carbon footprint be smaller, we will also lose more weight as a nation."

The Study

  • Annual vehicle miles traveled per licensed driver measures person's total sedentary time because inactivity is most obvious when sitting in a car
  • Extra weight cause excessive fuel consumption
Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
May 12, 2011
Last Updated:
May 19, 2011