(Kate Hinds, Transportation Nation) If New Yorkers took fuller advantage of the city's public transit system, bike lanes, and sidewalks, they'd be healthier. That's the message behind a report released today by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
Health Benefits of Active Transportation in New York City states that "one in eight deaths annually among New Yorkers aged 30 and over could be prevented with more physical activity." While the report covers the personal health benefits of "active transportation" (defined as "self-propelled" methods like walking, bicycling, jogging, and in-line skating), it also underscores the importance of public transportation. Some highlights:
- On average, people who walk or bike to work get more than an hour of active transportation time daily.
- New Yorkers who walk or bike to work get more than 40 minutes more combined transportation and recreation physical activity per day than those who use a personal car or taxi.
- New Yorkers who take public transportation for most of their commute get almost half an hour more daily combined transportation and recreation physical activity than those who use a personal car or taxi.
Thomas Farley, the commissioner of the city's Department of Health, said how you commute can make a big difference. "If you simply walk to work, run errands 20 to 30 minutes a day," he said, "you can reduce your diabetes risk by 30%, and reduce your risk of premature death by 20%."
You can read the report highlights here (pdf), or see the full report below.