This report states that if current trends continue, half the United States population will have type 2 diabetes or prediabetes by the year 2020. Not only is such a life limiter, but it would also be a tremendous waste of money. In 2009, the average health-care cost of a diabetic person was $11,700 versus $4,400 for everyone else, and was $20,700 for diabetes with complications. The report notes that the overall monetary cost of the diabetes/prediabetes comes out to $3.35 trillion over ten years.
So, what do these facts have to do with biking and walking? Actually a lot. Often people with prediabetes can make their metabolism revert to healthy levels through increased physical activity, and the loss of excess weight. Walking and biking can be great ways to work in such physical activity, whether as part of an exercise routine or as part of everyday transportation. The construction of complete streets would make such a realistic option for more people, and isn't really so expensive when these health costs are considered. As mentioned previously on this blog, a representative once asked how many people are currently driving to a gym in order to ride a stationary bike?