According to Reuters news service, the high prices might be causing North Americans to slim down. A new study from Washington University in St. Louis finds that adding a dollar per gallon to the price of gas could cut obesity by 15% in 5 years! The report is titled “A Silver Lining: The Connection between Gas Prices and Obesity.”
So, what does the price of gas have to do with obesity? Study author Charles Courtemanche says higher prices can get people to walk or bicycle instead of drive, and also encourages them to eat healthier home-cooked meals instead of rich restaurant food. Courtemanche said he became interested in the topic after rising gas prices made him think about giving up his car and taking public transportation. He figured he’d get an extra 30 minutes of exercise each day just by walking to and from the Metro station.
Almost one third of the population of North America is obese – which is defined as having a body mass index greater than 30. It’s considered to be a factor in well over 100,000 deaths each year. Also, the health costs related to obesity are estimated at $117-billion per year - because of its link to high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
So, if it’s true that the high price of gas is getting people to slim down, it really is a silver lining! Think of how much money you’ll save, and how much weight you’ll lose if you walk, ride your bike, or take the bus to work. Not a bad trade-off!