Commuting adds more than 700 calories to our diet

Commuting adds more than 700 calories to our diet
Travelling to work by car can add more than 700 calories to people’s diet by encouraging us to snack more and reducing the amount of time we have to exercise.

Research carried out by the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) revealed that commuting is associated with stress, higher blood pressure and an increased body mass index.

The poll of 1,500 workers, which also looked at the habits of those who commute by rail and bus, found that many have less time for healthy activities such as exercising, cooking and sleeping.

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Instead, many found that commuting makes them want to snack more, either out of boredom or because they have a particularly stressful journey.

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According to the survey, the most popular item people eat during their commute is a chocolate bar, followed by crisps, fizzy drinks and muffins.

As a result of their unhealthier diet, the average commuter sees their calorie count increase by as much as 767, though it is feared the figure could be higher for many.

RSPH chief executive Shirley Cramer said: “For some of us the daily commute can be a pleasurable experience, giving time for reflection or an opportunity to relax, but for an increasing number of us it is having a damaging effect on our health and well-being.

“As the length of our commute increases this impact is getting worse, including by contributing to rising levels of stress, adding to our waistlines, or eating into time we could otherwise spend doing activities which enhance our health and well-being such as sleep, exercise or time spent with friends or family.”

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Previous research from the TUC found that the average commute to and from work lasts for 55 minutes, with three million workers having to travel two hours or more.

In order to combat the unhealthy consequences of spending too much time travelling to work, the RSPH said that employers should increase the availability of flexible working practices.

These include working part time, having more flexible hours and working from home.

Some two-fifths of those surveyed as part of the RSPH research said they thought that these could help to improve their overall health and wellbeing.

Copyright Press Association 2016. Motoring News articles do not reflect the RAC's views unless clearly stated.