Health: Get out of your cars, say doctors

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The Independent Online
Leading doctors yesterday called for tough action to reduce car traffic and improve the nation's health. A report by the British Medical Association reveals that high levels of traffic and pollution are having adverse effects on people's health. Death rates from heart and lung disease are up to 37 per cent higher in cities with high levels of traffic pollution. Among children aged 10 to 14 the risk of being killed on the roads has doubled since 1995. And traffic noise disturbs sleep adversely affecting people's mental health and well-being.

The report, called Transport and Health, was drawn up by the BMA's Board of Science in response to the Government's Green Paper on transport and the environment.It calls on the Government to set national targets to reduce motor traffic, diesel emissions and vehicle noise. The study also suggests strategies be set up to reduce traffic danger, promote safe routes to schools and set targets to boost both cycling and walking.

However, health experts claim it is up to everyone, including the medical profession, to play their part in reducing the amount of traffic on the roads. They claim individual employers and hospital trusts can improve the health of their work force by encouraging staff to cycle or walk to work rather than drive.