People driving to work every day are gaining more weight than their colleagues on trains, buses and bikes, according to a new study from Australia.
"Even if you are efficiently active during leisure time, if you use a car for commuting daily then that has an impact on weight gain," said lead author of the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne.
Among people in the study who got at least two and a half hours of weekly exercise, car commuters gained an average of four pounds over four years - one pound more than people who got to work another way or worked from home.
Of 822 study participants, only those who got enough weekly exercise and never drove to work managed to prevent gaining weight over the course of the study.
Participants who didn't get enough weekly exercise also gained weight, but how much they gained wasn't tied to their mode of getting to work.
But there are probably other factors at work that were not considered in the study, say some experts. For instance, people who have longer commutes may purchase food on their way to and from work, which could influence weight gain.
Previous studies that focused on total time spent in cars per day have also found a link to becoming overweight or obese.
SOURCE: American Journal of Preventive Medicine, February, 2013.
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