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Giving free bus passes to individuals aged 60
and over encourages older people to keep fit, according to research
published in the American Journal of Public Health and
reported on the Age UK website.
The study's findings demonstrate that the free bus pass
scheme has potential health benefits for the population that may
override Government plans to cut back or even abolish spending in
The research by the School of Public Health at Imperial
College London is drawn from analysis of four years' worth of UK
National Travel Survey statistics. It found that people with bus
passes also walk more frequently and are generally more active.
Exercise helps to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease as well
as strengthening muscle and improving mental health.
Other studies have found that undertaking just 15 minutes of
moderate daily exercise produces a 12% lower risk of death in
people aged over 60.
In the Age UK news article, the study leader, Sophie
Coronini-Cronberg, said it was clear that the provision of free bus
passes was having a positive impact on the general health of older
people. The scheme appears to be heading for a review as the £1.1
billion cost is putting additional pressure on already overburdened
public spending. However, she believes that the government should
consider the findings of the study before taking action and
that a cost-benefit analysis of the scheme may find that the
amount spent is outweighed by the benefits gained.
Read the Turn2us information sheet on Travel
costs: people over 60
Age UK (link opens in a new window)/Press Association
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