CNN reports that a report series in The Lancet notes that physical inactivity is just as deadly as smoking or obesity. (Obviously the latter and physical inactivity are also linked.) If inactivity rates drop by 10-20%, then anything between one half to 1.3 million lives can be saved annually worldwide. The authors consider such inactivity to be equivalent to a pandemic.
In the third article of the series, Gregory Heath of the University of Tennessee wrote that "Because even moderate physical activity such as walking and cycling can have substantial health benefits, understanding strategies that can increase these behaviors in different regions and cultures has become a public health priority," and that improvements in mass transit and the walking and cycling environment can produce real benefits. As has been previously mentioned, we have engineered much physical activity out of our lives, but we can reverse the trend. Support for improved cycling and walking infrastructure in our communities have the following beneficial effects.
- Improved health,
- Decreased cost - I had mentioned that a car cost $11-$22 per day
- Improved environment,
- Decreased congestion,
- Improved community, with people being more neighborly and social,
- and Decreased dependence on foreign oil.