Have you ever wondered if more cycling would mean a thinner nation? Less obesity, less diabetes, less heart disease, longer life – all those good things? Well, here’s some research about the fattest countries in the world and cycling rates that seems to show that more cycling really would have all those good results.
The Fattest Countries in the World
The World Health Organization (WHO) has published results of surveys on world obesity. The top 10 fattest countries of our current decade are listed below. (The percentages show what percent of the population is overweight.)
- American Samoa, 93.5 %
- Kiribati, 81.5 %
- United States, 66.7 %
- Germany, 66.5 %
- Egypt, 66 %
- Bosnia-Herzegovina, 62.9 %
- New Zealand, 62.7 %
- Israel, 61.9 %
- Croatia, 61.4 %
- United Kingdom, 61 %
I compared these rates of obesity to rates of cycling in various countries.
Easier said than done, as the rates of cycling are surprisingly difficult to find. But finally, this is what I was able to find.
The Top Cycling Countries in the World
Do you notice the correlation? That’s right – there IS NO correlation. All that one can say is that basically, the countries that bike a lot are not on the list of fattest countries.
With the notable exception of Germany. Germany is the anomaly here. How does Germany manage to have the fourth highest rate of cycling, and yet also be the fourth fattest country? Way to mess up my theory, guys!
But not to worry, because I have a theory to account for this. It’s probably the ridiculously yummy pretzels. And of course, the wonderful beers! I have recently discovered that for me, and also for Mrs. Average Joe Cyclist, the magical key to weight loss is simply to limit carbs (while still eating enormous amounts of healthy vegetables).
Germany notwithstanding, the point seems clear: if you cycle a lot, you are less likely to be obese.
Research into the Correlation between Obesity and Active Transportation
Apart from my carefully researched correlations, there’s also a group of researchers who studied the correlation between active transportation (cycling, walking, transit) and obesity, and found that:
“Walking and bicycling are much more common in European nations than in the United States, Canada, and Australia. The current study shows that there is an inverse association between active transportation and obesity rates in these countries.”
They also concluded that:
“Studies conducted in Sweden, the United States, and Australia have found that individuals who perform active transportation have a decreased odds ratio of obesity.”
In English: people who bike or walk a lot are much less likely to be fat. Good enough for me. I’m going to keep on cycling!
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