The link between highly sedentary lifestyles and obesity is obvious. When we sit at a desk, on a couch, and in a car all day, it’s pretty darn hard not to get obese! In these maps and a graph above from researchers Anne Price and Ariel Godwin, you can pretty clearly see the correlation. However, as the researchers who created the maps and graph are apt to point out:
“Considering that the percentage of active commuters in the U.S. is quite small, it is unlikely that walking and biking make any significant contribution to reducing the obesity rate in particular counties. More likely, counties with the highest percentage of walkers and cyclists also share other common characteristics that are driving this trend. Perhaps lower rates are driven by a cumulative effect of a more affluent and educated population. It may also be that counties with higher rates of active commuting have policies and cultures that have led to higher rates of physical activity overall.”
Yep, there are some limitations. But the theory is certainly there, and the correlation is certainly there.