We all know that cycling keeps us healthier (and happier, according to some research). So it’s relatively intuitive that sneaking in some exercise by bike commuting can only help. But are model cycling cities in the U.S. altogether healthier than the others? You bet.
A recent study published by Rutgers University’s John Pucher in the American Journal of Public Health shows that cities where more people bike or walk to work are far healthier than cities where few people bike or walk to work. In fact, obesity rates are 20 percent lower and diabetes rates are 23 percent lower.
National Public Radio aired a brief piece about it today—worth a listen. The NPR story highlights Pucher’s research and then interviews employees at National Geographic Society. Of note: a CEO-organized ride that often happens during lunchtime. National Geographic CEO John Fahey says that he likes the chance to get to know his staffers informally—and to encourage everyone to get some exercise.
What a fantastic idea—employers take note! If such an idea currently seems outlandish, consider what infrastructure, policies and incentives need to change at the workplace to normalize commuters and lunchtime riders. With skin in the game here, employers can have a direct influence on the health of our community as a whole. And perhaps next time NPR does a story on healthy cities, Seattle will get a mention.