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Getting off our car seats and onto bicycle saddles can help Americans tackle the problem of obesity, as physiology tests in Australia demonstrate.

It should be pretty obvious that this edition of Insider Illustrated has a strong electric-assist bicycle bias, and for good reason: bikes offer a way to get sedentary Americans off our fat, comfortable car seats and moving again, something we as a nation desperately need to do if are to stem the plague of obesity-caused disease that is ravaging our population.

As I mention in the ‘E-bike Parity with Holland’ piece starting on page 16,there is a persuasive link between the relative lack of daily physical activity among most Americans and our high levels of obesity when compared to countries like Germany, the Netherlands, and Switzerland where citizens walk more, use more public transit and, importantly for this discussion, cycle more, often on a daily basis. Obesity levels in these countries are a third that of the United States.

But can using an electric-assist bicycle really help address this situation? The evidence we have to date says yes. At the Interbike event, I showed a bar graph based on physiological tests conducted in Australia several years back that clearly demonstrated that riding a 200W pedal-assist electric bike over a 5 km course actually produced better cardiovascular health benefits than did riding the same course on a conventional bicycle. Driving a car over the same route was, as you might imagine, the worse thing you could do, yet we Americans continue to do it, day in, day out, and we’re paying the price.

Posted By: Bill Moore [11-Mar-2013]