Cars Make People Fat

Looks like Obama should include trains as part of his healthcare plan.

Getting people out of their cars and into public transit, or on bikes, makes them less fat, according to research from Rutgers University urban planning professor John Pucher, via the Examiner.


Why might this be? Felix Salmon shares his thoughts:

In general, the urban no-car diet is a very good one, and not just because you’re getting incidental exercise from walking more than you otherwise might. If you don’t have a car, you generally have much less food at home, because you don’t have access to “free” transportation in which you can transport hundreds of dollars’ worth of food from your local supermarket and deposit it in a monster-size refrigerator.

Dense urban centres also tend to offer much more expensive dining options. Sure, you can find fast food if you want it. But the fast food is surrounded by restaurants you actually want to go to, and since they’re just as convenient, you don’t have the “no choice” excuse that you have when you stop off next to the freeway. So you gravitate to the more expensive (and generally intrinsically healthier) options. And as any economist will tell you, the amount you consume goes down as the price goes up.


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