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Walking to work slashes diabetes risk

People who walk to work are 40% less likely to have diabetes than those who drive, a study has shown. 

A survey of 20,000 people in the UK examined the relation between health indicators and how people travel to work. 

Researchers from Imperial College London and University College London discovered that cycling, walking and using public transport were associated with a lower risk of being overweight. 

People who walk to work were also 17% less likely to have high blood pressure than those who drive. 

Published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, the study showed that people could reduce the risk of developing serious health problems such as heart attacks by avoiding car use. 

"This study highlights that building physical activity into the daily routine by walking, cycling or using public transport to get to work is good for personal health," said Anthony Laverty, from the School of Public Health at Imperial College London.

Almost a fifth (19%) of working age adults who use private transport - such as cars, motorbikes or taxis - to get to work were obese, compared to 15% of those who walked and 13% of those who cycled to work.

The study found wide variations in the modes of transport used in different parts of the UK. Public transport was used most in London (52%) compared with just 5% in Northern Ireland.

Laverty said: "The variations between regions suggest that infrastructure and investment in public transport, walking and cycling can play a large role in encouraging healthy lives, and that encouraging people out of the car can be good for them as well as the environment.”