LONDON (Dispatches) -- People who walk, cycle and travel by train to work are at reduced risk of early death or illness compared with those who commute by car.
These are the findings of a study of over 300,000 commuters in England and Wales, by researchers from Imperial College London and the University of Cambridge.
The researchers say the findings suggest increased walking and cycling post-lockdown may reduce deaths from heart disease and cancer.
The study, published in The Lancet Planetary Health, used Census data to track the same people for up to 25 years, between 1991-2016.
It found that, compared with those who drove, those who cycled to work had a 20 per cent reduced rate of early death, 24 per cent reduced rate of death from cardiovascular disease (which includes heart attack and stroke) during the study period, a 16 per cent reduced rate of death from cancer, and an 11 per cent reduced rate of a cancer diagnosis.
Walking to work was associated with a 7 per cent reduced rate in cancer diagnosis, compared to driving. The team explain that associations between walking and other outcomes, such as rates of death from cancer and heart disease, were less certain. One potential reason for this is people who walk to work are, on average, in less affluent occupations than people who drive to work, and more likely to have underlying health conditions which could not be fully accounted for.