Swedish study indicates commuters are less healthy

by William ASTON on November 1, 2011

A study has indicated that commuting by either car or public transport is possibly bad for your health.

It has been found that those who use a car, bus, or train for their main way of getting into work suffer from more stress, are more absent from work due to sickness, and have poorer sleeping patterns than those able to walk or cycle to their place of employment.
Researchers have based their results on public health surveys of 21,000 workers that are employed full-time and are aged between the age of 18 and 65. All of them hailed from southern Sweden.

Mr Erik Hanssen, who works in Lund University’s division of occupational and environmental medicine, said that, generally speaking, users of cars and public transport suffer more stress, poorer quality of sleep and exhaustion and feel that they struggle with their health when compared to active commuters.

The study, which was published in BMC Public Health, couldn’t prove that commuting causes ill health, as the authors have been keen to stress, because it is merely a snapshot in time with so many other variables that should also be taken into consideration.
Hanssen said of longer distance commuters that the drivers tend to be men that are high-income earners and travel from rural areas. He added that they are a group that generally considers themselves to be tremendously healthy and in shape.

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