Study Quantifies Public Health Benefits of Walking and Bicycling in SF Bay Area

Oakland, CA, February 14, 2013… A Bay Area study quantifying the public health benefits of green transportation choices is getting some important national exposure. The online

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version of the American Journal of Public Health today released findings from a study looking at the public health benefits potentially accruing to the San Francisco Bay Area from campaigns to steer commuters away from driving and toward walking and bicycling, modes that in the planning sphere are grouped together under the term “active transportation.”

The study was an international effort involving four California researchers: Sean Co, a planner for active transportation with the Bay Area’s Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC); Neil Maizlish, Ph.D., epidemiologist for the Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion at the California Department of Public Health in Sacramento; and Amir Fanai and David Fairley, Ph.D., with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District in San Francisco.

Titled “Health Cobenefits and Transportation-Related Reductions in Greenhouse Gas Emissions in the San Francisco Bay Area,” the article looks at how ongoing efforts in the Bay Area to reduce reliance on automobiles might produce beneficial side effects for the region’s public health. By relying more on their own two legs and less on four-wheeled vehicles, Bay Area residents would see measurable reductions in chronic conditions like obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes — as well as a reduction in premature deaths. Almost all of the public health benefits (99 percent, in fact) are attributable to increased physical activity levels rather than to decreased air pollution.

More information can be found here: http://mtc.ca.gov/news/press_releases/rel595.htm

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