July 2020

Getting Off 1 Bus Stop Earlier = 50+ Days in Life Expectancy

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In early 2019, Dublin’s Department of Health wanted to encourage public transport riders to improve their activity levels by alighting 1 stop earlier and walking to their destination. To gain the public’s attention, they decided to relate the additional steps to the potential increase in life-expectancy (calculated at a population level).

Turns out, alighting from a bus one stop earlier in Dublin would lead to a daily average of 4.42 minutes additional walking time (44.21 minutes additional walking per week for a commuter). In the Dublin bus commuter population, this leads to an estimated 50-day increase in life expectancy.

The authors note that at the lower end of the dose response curve for physical activity, health benefits include reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, reduced risk of diabetes, psychosocial benefit, and reduced risk of musculoskeletal problems. They do note, however, that for the prevention of weight gain and some cancers, activity at the upper end of the range (1000 MET.min/week, approximately 300 minutes of walking/week) is thought to be required.

Source: Conway R, O’Farrell A. Next stop a longer life. Ir Med J. 2020;112(10):1025.

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