Europeans Walk 3 Times More Than
Americans
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January 27, 2010, last updated May 7, 2015
By DeDe Howard, Contributing Columnist


A new study has revealed one of the reasons Europeans
are thinner than we are--they walk more. Researchers from
the University of Tennessee and Rutgers University found
that, on average Europeans walk 237 miles (382
kilometers) a year.  Americans, in contrast walk only 87
miles (140 kilometers) a year.  Europeans also bike more,
and average of 116 miles a year compared to just 24 for
Americans.

The researchers examined data from 2000 from various
European countries including the Netherlands (Holland),
Sweden, Latvia and Switzerland as well as data from
Australia and the U.S.  The researchers then compared this
data showing the degree of so-called "active transport"
with rates of obesity.  

No surprise here. The U.S. led the charts for rates of
obesity at 23.9%. Sweden had the lowest rates of obesity
at 8% almost tying the Netherlands at 8.1%.  I can tell you
from my trips to the Netherlands that the Dutch really do
bike --everywhere. They bike to business meetings, they
bike to the grocery store. The Dutch seem to love their
bicycles more than  any other people on Earth.  


But Amsterdam, the Dutch capital city, lends itself more to
bike riding than our freeways. Amsterdam is a compact city
with very few little car traffic. Canals wind their way
through the main sections of the town.  Bike lanes are the
norm.  Cars, and indeed pedestrians, are cautioned to give
way to bikes. Or else. One tour guide even told me that if
you have a collision with a biker, you are presumed by law
to be in the wrong.  In other words, their world is built
around the supremacy of the bicycle and the rights of
bicyclers.

Why Do We Care How Much Europeans Walk?

We care about our walking comparisons because, simply
put, walking is critical to our health. Studies have found
that people who walk just 15 to 30 minutes a day lower
their blood sugar. Those who walk a half an hour suffer
less lower back pain, age-related brain decline and high
blood pressure. (Read more about the
health benefits of
walking
.)


Obesity Rates for Selected Countries  (Chart Below)



























































Not so is our world in the U.S.  I don't have to tell you that
bike lanes are not the norm. And car drivers certainly do
not give way to bikers. In the U.S., our world is built
around the supremacy of cars. And the rights of car
drivers. Too late to change that, I suppose.

Getting back to the study, I have a problem with its
conclusions. It's easy enough to point out that Europeans
walk more. I am a big believer
in the more active European
lifestyle.  But when you look at the study's conclusions, you
see that the difference in the daily calorie expenditures
because of the walking and cycling is really not that much.
Europeans burn an average of 83 calories from walking
while Americans burn 40 calories a day walking. Not much
of a difference.


So what's the whole story? What's the real reason
Europeans weigh so much less than we Americans?

Continue reading  page 1   
page 2



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Healthy Body, Healthy Mind, Healthy Life
Country
Obesity in
Women (%)
Obesity in Men
(%)
Obesity Overall
(%)
Netherlands
(Holland)
11.0
11.5
11.2
Norway
13.3
15.4
14.3
Latvia
17.4
9.5
13.7
Canada
22.5
22.9
22.7
Australia
22.2
19.3
20.8
Britain (U.K.)
25
23
24
U.S.
35.3
33.3
34.3
What's Inside This Article?

-Just how obese we Americans are  
compared to people from other countries

-How many calories do Americans eat per
day

-How many calories do Europeans eat per
day

-How far do Americans walk and bike each
day compared to Europeans

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