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The average commuter adds 800 calories a week to their diet, a new report has found

Research from the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) suggests that people who commute for long periods of time are potentially “shortening their lives”.

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THE AVERAGE COMMUTER adds extra 800 calories to their diets every week as a result of their journey to and from work, a new report has found.

Research from the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) suggests that people who commute for long periods of time are potentially “shortening their lives”.

The median average calorie-intake was 767 kcal, based on self-reporting of additional food consumption by a sample of 1,547 commuters in the UK.

The report links long commutes with increased stress, higher blood pressure and BMI, and reduced time available for health-promoting activities such as cooking, exercising and sleeping.

The average commute in the UK stands at roughly an almost an hour a day, while Celtic Tiger-era commutes are on the way back here, too.

According to the RSPH survey, people who commute in London have an average journey of 79 minutes – compared to just under 45 minutes for people living in Wales.

The report also found:

  • More than half (55%) reported increased stress levels.
  • Around two in five (41%) said they didn’t exercise as much as they used to.
  • More than a third said they slept less.
  • Two in five (38%) said they spent less time preparing healthy meals.
  • A third of people reported increased snacking (33%) while over a quarter reported fast food consumption (29%).
  • Almost half (44%) said their commute meant they spent less time with family and friends.

To combat the health issues associated with long commutes, the RSPH has called for employers to increase flexible and home working.

“Not only does it add to our stress levels, but travelling by bus, car, and train eats into the time we could be using to incorporate physical activity into our daily routine,” said Dr Justin Varney of Public Health England.

Employers can support staff wellbeing by offering facilities which promote cycling and walking to work, such as showers and bike spaces, and taking up opportunities like the Cycle2Work scheme.

“For some of us the daily commute can be a pleasurable experience, giving time for reflection or an opportunity to relax,” Shirley Cramer CBE, the head of the RSPH added.

“But for an increasing number of us it is having a damaging effect on our health and wellbeing.”

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