Increased use of bikes for commuting offers economic, health benefits.
Article Type: Brief article
Subject: Health insurance (Economic aspects)
Medical care, Cost of (Economic aspects)
Obesity (Risk factors)
Obesity (Care and treatment)
Pub Date: 09/22/2011
Publication: Name: Annals of the American Psychotherapy Association Publisher: American Psychotherapy Association Audience: Academic; Professional Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Psychology and mental health Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2011 American Psychotherapy Association ISSN: 1535-4075
Issue: Date: Fall-Winter, 2011 Source Volume: 14 Source Issue: 3
Product: Product Code: 6322000 Medical Care Insurance; 6320000 Accident & Health Insurance NAICS Code: 524114 Direct Health and Medical Insurance Carriers; 5241 Insurance Carriers SIC Code: 6321 Accident and health insurance
Geographic: Geographic Scope: United States Geographic Code: 1USA United States
Accession Number: 277270189
Full Text: [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Cutting out short auto trips and replacing them with mass transit and active transport would yield major health benefits, according to a study just published in the scientific journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

The biggest health benefit was due to replacing half of the short trips with bicycle trips during the warmest six months of the year, saving about $3.8 billion per year from avoided mortality and reduced health care costs for conditions like obesity and heart disease.

The report calculated that these measures would save an estimated $7 billion, including 1,100 lives each year from improved air quality and increased physical fitness.

"Moving five-mile round trips from cars to bikes is a win-win situation that is often ignored in discussions of transportation alternatives," says Jonathan Patz, director of the Global Health Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. "We talk about the cost of changing energy systems, the cost of alternative fuels, but we seldom talk about this kind of benefit," he says.

By lessening the use of fossil fuels, a reduction in auto usage also benefits the climate, Patz adds. "Transportation accounts for one-third of greenhouse gas emissions, so if we can swap bikes for cars, we gain in fitness, local air quality, a reduction in greenhouse gases, and the personal economic benefits of biking rather than driving. It's a four-way win," he adds.

University of Wisconsin-Madison (2011, Nov 21. Increased use of bikes for commuting offers economic, health benefits. ScienceDaily. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedaily. com/releases/2011/11/111102082804.htm
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