Reduced physical activity in their daily lives has negative health effects on children and young people. Their leisure activities are mostly done in a seated position or lying down. Mag. Hans-Christian Miko from the Vienna Medical University offers evidence-based academic studies confirming the efficiency of cycling as remedy. He has compiled his presentation for the cycle traffic sub-committee of the Austrian transport ministry BMVIT.
Not enough exercise
Lack of exercise has been proven to be one of the most significant risk factors for the development of positive health factors during childhood and adolescence in studies by Hurrelmann and Hollmann respectively in 2004. Because it is known that only 17.4% of the youth between the age of 11 and 17 in Austria actually fulfills the recommended daily relevant time of physical activity, the need for action becomes all the more apparent:
This is where cycling at doctor’s orders comes in: Evidence-based academic studies confirm regular physical activity is reducing the risk of developing chronic diseases. Especially the academic papers by Anderson (2000) and Anderson & Cooper (2010) respectively, have come to the conclusion that children and young people who are regularly cycling to school are showing a better level of fitness and a more favourable cardio-vascular risk profile than their non-cycling comparison group. Over an observation period of over 14 years with over 30,000 participants Anderson et al. were able to show that the relative “all cause mortality” for cyclists is reduced by 28% compared to non-cyclists because of the positive health benefits.
Especially with children there is strong evidence e.g. for improved cardio-respiratory fitness and increased bone density through regular physical activity like cycling. It is reassuring that the positive effects of cycling are outweighing the risks through higher air pollution and an increased risk of having an accident. This was proven by De Hartog et al. in 2010.
Study overview for DOWNLOAD (german)