Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Transport and toning

Bad news today on health, with data published in the Lancet showing that the UK is falling down the league table of healthy living (see here). Inactive lifestyles, smoking, alcohol, unbalanced diets and a poor attitude towards preventive health care are certainly part of the reason. Inactivity is encouraged by the kind of transport policies we have too eg on the same day as the health news comes the story (here) that the all-party cycling group inquiry reveals a lack of political leadership and will to get people cycling.

Cycling should be given much higher priority in transport planning - it increases health and well-being, which no other mode of transport other than walking does and it has very low environmental impacts.  Many journeys made are relatively short - cycling should, along with walking, account for most short distance journeys made if we get conditions right and we need this to be so if we are to build a sustainable society.

The incentives in our society are not the right ones however. We use money flow through our economy as our measure of progress. We should instead adopt the broader idea of prosperity as it encompasses general flourishing, thriving, general wellbeing, happiness and health as well as the economic factors (related posts here). Having prosperity in place of increasing money flow as the driver of society would put our health - our ability or capacity to function well physically, mentally and socially, not just the absence of disease or condition - centrestage, where it should be. See health related posts here.

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