A prominent California epidemiologist believes the easiest way to improve the state’s public health is for local authorities to promote cycling.
In his latest speech at UC Davis, Dr. Neil Maizlish from Oakland’s Public Health Institute said cycling is the best way to naturally boost a motorist’s physical activity. According to Maizlish’s data, getting more Californian drivers active could significantly reduce the number of people diagnosed with chronic conditions like diabetes.
Although Dr. Maizlish focused on improved physical health, he also pointed out secondary benefits such as reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Not only would more cyclists improve air quality, other studies have suggested bicyclists inhale less particulate matter compared with motorists.
Another interesting finding in Maizlish’s research is that the more bicyclists there are, the fewer collisions there would when calculated for each mile pedaled. Since more people would be bicycling, however, public health officials might see an increase in the number of total injuries per year.
To help prevent this scenario, Dr. Maizlish is now urging public health officials to ramp up efforts to make cities more bike-friendly. Dr. Maizlish also called on Californian leaders to create public health campaigns aimed at encouraging more motorists to walk or bike.
Today, it’s estimated most Americans sit for approximately 8 hours per day. For people who live in big cities like Los Angeles, it’s not uncommon to spend at least 128 hours per year sitting in traffic.
Doctors now believe the combination of a sedentary lifestyle and a nutrient-deficient diet accounts for about 300,000 American deaths per year.
The specific model Dr. Maizlish used for his research is known as the Integrated Transport Health Impact Model. Most of the numbers Dr. Maizlish used in his study were either taken from state traffic reports and the CA Household Travel Survey.
For more details on the research model Dr. Maizlish used, please visit this official website.