Potential health benefits of increasing cycling
This report, published by the Department for Transport, presents an evaluation of the Cycling City and Towns (CCT) programme. It investigates the potential for delivering public health benefits through increasing cycling among different population groups.
There is strong evidence from existing research for the health benefits to individuals of cycling as a form of physical activity. However, we do not yet know what the public health impacts might be of schemes to promote cycling amongst local populations.
This analysis demonstrates that the public health impacts of the programme (in terms of annual risk of all‐cause mortality) are likely to be highly dependent on who is successfully encouraged to increase their levels of physical activity through cycling.
- In the CCTs 38% of the adult population was estimated to be inactive, 23% moderately inactive, 19% moderately active and 20% active.
- There is little potential public health benefit to be gained from encouraging the 39% of people who are already physically active/moderately active to start cycling or to cycle more.
- There is a quantifiable potential benefit to be gained from encouraging the 61% of people who are physically inactive/moderately inactive to start cycling or to cycle more.
- 21% of the CCT adult population was estimated to have a higher probability of being a regular cyclist in future, 24% a medium probability, and 55% a lower probability.
If all of these individuals moved one category up the physical activity index through cycling, there would be an estimated 300 fewer deaths per year across the CCTs. Although this may be an unrealistic ambition, similar estimates could be made for successfully reaching fractions of the groups in question.
- Publication Date:
- 01 May 2012