I heard a couple of interesting pieces of information on National Public Radio in the last 12 hours. The first is that obesity rates in the U.S. seem to have stabilized over the past 10 years: the 1980s and 90s saw a steady increase in obesity rates, but these remained pretty steady for the last 10 years. That’s the good news. The less-good news is that obesity rates in the U.S. have leveled out at about 33% – that means 1 in every 3 American adults is obese. There’s got to be room for improvement here.

To add a little visual interest to these statistics, check out these maps that were posted on StreetsblogDC recently (unrelated to the NPR report). They show a correlation between obesity levels and places where people drive to work – the higher percentage of people driving to work, the higher the obesity levels.

Obesity levels are highest in the gulf states and throughout the southeast. Courtesy of StreetsblogDC.

This map, showing percentage of car commutes, shows the correlation between obesity and driving. Courtesy of StreetsblogDC.

The other piece of obesity-related news I heard this morning, before coming in to work. Boston’s Mayor Menino gave his “State of the City” address last night, in which he promised to help Bostonians combat obesity. Why is this necessary, since Boston was recently rated among the healthiest cities in the U.S.? Because according to studies, half of all adults in Boston are obese, along with one third of all children.

Diet and exercise are the keys to lowering obesity levels. One way to get a little more exercise in your day is by riding a bike – whether it’s “just” for exercise, a way to spend time with your family, or on the way to work. If you haven’t ridden in a long time, don’t worry – it’s just like riding a bike. And most cities, Boston included, have separated paths where you can get your footing.

How do you stay in shape? Do you ride your bicycle or bike commute? Is it something you’ve been thinking of but have been hesitant to try?

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