Over 60s who want to keep trim should use their free bus passes, according to a study of around 9,000 people in England.
Published by researchers at Imperial College London last week, the study in 2008 found those who used public transport or took advantage of the perk were 25% less likely to be obese than those who did not.
It also found those who used public transport or their free bus pass between 2004 – 2008 were 20% less likely to become obese than those who did not.
However, all groups – those who used public transport and those who did not – tended to put on weight over those years.
Researchers followed men and women who had signed up to be part of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing project.
The authors of the study, published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, argued the apparent health benefits meant free bus passes should not be cut. They wrote: “Concessionary schemes, such as free local bus travel for older people, have an impact upon use of public transport and consequently on population health. These schemes should be protected in future policy.”