Limit car use to cut down calories during X-mas

Washington: Curbing car travel could be one way of cutting down calories and maintaining a healthy weight during holiday fests, says a study.

The study, led by Sheldon H. Jacobson, computer science and mathematics professor at the University of Ilinois, suggests that both daily automobile travel and calories consumed are related to body weight.

Lowering either one, even by a fraction, reduces body mass index (BMI), a height to weight ratio.

"We`re saying that making small changes in travel or diet choices may lead to comparable obesity reduction, which implies that travel-based interventions may be as effective as dietary interventions," said graduate student and study co-author Banafsheh Behzad, the journal Preventive Medicine reports.

Obesity is a multi-dimensional problem with many social and medical factors, but maintaining body weight essentially is a result of energy consumed and energy expended, according to an Illinois statement.

"An easy way to be more physically active is to spend less time in an automobile. Any time a person sits behind the wheel of a car, it`s one of the most docile activities they can do in a day," Jacobson said.

"The automobile is the quickest mode of transportation we have. But a consequence of this need for speed in getting things done may be the obesity epidemic," added Jacobson.

Researchers found that if all adults in the US drove a mile less per day, the model predicted a decrease in the national average BMI after six years.

"One mile is really not much," Behzad said. "If they would just consider even taking the bus, walking the distance to the bus stop could have an impact like eating 100 calories less per day.

"The main thing is paying attention to caloric intake and moving more, together, can help reduce BMI."


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