The Festive 5: Reason to Invest #3

Every Monday in December, the Festive 5 will bring you another reason to support carsharing in Winnipeg. Help us grow by purchasing investment shares. The deadline to receive a 30% tax credit from the Province is December 31st, 2012. This week we’re talking…

HEALTH

Photo cred: Stephen Kurz

We haven’t yet talked about the health benefits of carsharing. They aren’t obvious, but as you will see below, there is generally a correlation between a reliance on driving and rates of obesity. Along with obesity come other health risks such as heart disease and diabetes.

However, by choosing more active transportation (like biking and walking), you’ll not only get to where you are going, you will also be doing your health a favour.

Manitobans are in dire need of more exercise, because we are getting fat. According to a recent study by the University of Manitoba:

“Like Canada overall, Manitoba has experienced a significant increase in the prevalence of obesity over time; Manitoba values have consistently been higher than national averages. This study is based on Manitoba–specific data from 1989 through 2008. Over that period, ‘corrected’ adult obesity increased from 18.4% to 28.3% among males and from 16.6% to 25.9% among females. Interestingly, however, the increase in obesity prevalence over time appears to have stopped for females, who reached 25% in 2000 and then remained stable through 2008.”

The data gets more interesting when you look at the difference in obesity trends between urban and rural areas. According to Statistics Canada, prevalence of obesity tends to be higher in rural areas. The study also suggests, that based on studies in the US, rates of obesity are linked with reliance on automobiles and decreased opportunities to walk as a mode of transportation. The link between driving, a more sedentary mode of transportation than biking, walking (including walk to the transit stop) and obesity has also been noted over and over in other places.

The second major health issue caused by vehicles is in the emissions they create. Traffic-related emissions are a complex mix of pollutants comprised of nitrogen oxides (including nitrogen dioxide), particulate matter, carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide, volatile organic compounds, ozone, and many other chemicals such as trace toxics and greenhouse gases. All of which we are forced to breath in.

In 2004, Toronto Public Health (TPH) estimated that air pollution (from all sources) is responsible for about 1,700 premature
deaths and 6,000 hospitalizations each year in Toronto — an effect that could be changed by reducing traffic congestion by 30%.

Beyond the benefits to your waistline and your respiratory health, biking also offers another really important health benefit: it makes you happy.

The difficult news is that often the form of transportation we choose is also dependent on the built environment of the cities we live in, as well as the availability of efficient and affordable transit. While both of these elements pose a challenge to many of Winnipeg’s residents, carsharing provides a transportation bridge that grants those wanting to drive less the ability to do so, while providing access to a vehicle when it is needed.

All told, carsharing represents a healthier, affordable, and more environmentally sensitive way to get around.

Visit pegcitycarcoop.ca/invest to find out how you can help us expand.

 

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