According to a new study carried out by the Australian Catholic University’s Institute of Health and Ageing which focused on driving disadvantages, those who drive for an hour or more a day are 2.3kg heavier and 1.5cm wider around the waist than those who spend just 15 minutes or less a day in their cars.
The study used the driving habits of 2,800 adults taking part in the Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle study as a case study.
The data was then collated and compared against health measures including body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, fasting plasma glucose, and a range of cardio-metabolic risk factors.
The results showed that around 25% of the participants who spent more than an hour behind the wheel, were more likely to have a 0.8 higher BMI number (equivalent to 2.3 kg for a person with a height of 1.7 m), and 1.5 cm greater waist circumference when compared to individuals who spent just 15 minutes or less in the car daily.
On the basis of gender, the study also found that men who stay behind the wheel at least an hour a day were more likely to put on weight than the women.
Australian Bureau of Statistics found that 78% of people use a car as the main form of transport to go to work and other places.
The lead author of the study Professor Takemi Sugiyama also added that other countries that use a car as their main form of transport include the USA (86% of people), UK (64%), and Sweden (54%).
In an effort to avoid these driving disadvantages and the negative health effects of prolonged time spent behind the wheel, people are encouraged to indulge in more activities every week.
The current guidelines to good health recommended by WHO suggests at least 150 minutes of “moderate intensity” activity per week for people over the age of 18. The activities may include – walking or cycling to work, aside the normal exercise through sport.
The advise further stated that doing some physical activity such as walking is far much better than doing none at all, and will also help people to avoid driving disadvantages and achieve the recommended daily activity levels that will go a long way in reducing their risk of obesity and other diseases related to obesity.