Commuting Can Harm Your Health

7:14 PM, May 8, 2012   |    comments
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (WUSA) - Your commute could be killing you. A study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that commutes of even just 10 miles could be harming your health.

Forget getting in a wreck, being stuck in traffic could be deadly.

Studies say the worst commutes are between D.C. and Fredericksburg, Va., and  Frederick, Md.

It could take 80 minutes or more to get to D.C. from either location during rush hour. Commutes like that, experts say, put our health and lives at risk.

Traffic in the D.C. metropolitan region is notorious, so it's no surprise to commuters that the Transportation Planning Board and Census Bureau says that D.C. has the worst commute in the nation.

Lon Anderson, AAA Mid-Atlantic spokesman, says,"This is a self- inflicted wound. We've had these problems for decades."

Jeff Warner, a commuter from Falls Church, Va.,  says, "Getting on the Beltway is horrible, getting on the Interstate is horrible, also Metro is horrible." 

The nation's top 12 worst one-way commutes include four area cities. No. 12 is Dale City, Va., (41.3 min.) ; No. 11, Clinton, Md., (41.7 min); No. 8, Fort Washington, Md. (42.5 min.) and No. 1, Bristow, Va. (46.3 min.).

Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo., studied nearly 4,300 commuters. They found that people who travel 10 miles to work were more likely to have high blood pressure.  Workers commuting 15 miles were at greater risk of being obese and not getting enough exercise. All of which could lead to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and some cancers.

Joseph Ortiz, an Alexandria, Va., commuter, says "There are times sometimes  that I end up more stressed out getting home than when I left work."

Although the Dulles rail and High Occupancy Toll lane projects are aimed at reducing congestion, construction for now is only adding to the problem.

Lon Anderson says,"We are a smart town with smart people but haven't figured out how to keep up with our growth."

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