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Breakfast behind the wheel or reaching for fast food can contribute to an unhealthy eating pattern.

A recent report by the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) has revealed that a quarter of young adults in the Netherlands are overweight, with 7 percent of the population even seriously overweight (obese). In light of these numbers, it is important to look at several factors contributing to this trend. One of these often overlooked factors is the time we spend behind the wheel of our cars.

A quarter of young adults in the Netherlands are overweight, and 7 percent are even seriously overweight (obese). This is reported by the Central Bureau of Statistics.

Modern life has brought the comfort and convenience of personal transportation. Driving has become a necessary daily routine for many, whether it's commuting, running errands, taking kids to school, or simply traveling. What is often overlooked, however, is the fact that these hours behind the wheel can contribute to the prevalence of obesity.

Firstly, prolonged sitting, as often happens while driving, leads to a significant reduction in physical activity. Moving less means burning fewer calories, which can lead to weight gain. This is especially true if sitting is combined with an unhealthy diet, which is often the case for people who regularly drive long distances and grab fast food on the go.

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It is clear that driving and being overweight are intertwined.

In addition, the stress of driving in heavy traffic can lead to hormonal changes that can affect appetite and weight gain. Prolonged stress can lead to elevated levels of cortisol, a hormone that has been linked to increased cravings for sugary and high-fat foods.

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In addition, the irregular eating times associated with long drives can affect metabolism and lead to weight gain. When meals are skipped or eaten at unusual times, the body can go into a "storage mode," where it stores energy instead of burning it.

The growing trend of overweight and obesity in the Netherlands, as highlighted by Statistics Netherlands, is an urgent problem that requires a multi-disciplinary approach. The role of lifestyle factors such as sedentary driving should not be overlooked. In this day and age when driving is such a big part of our lives, we need to be proactive in addressing the health risks associated with it.

Clearly, driving and being overweight are intertwined, meaning that tackling obesity requires more than just focusing on diet and exercise. As we work to build healthier lifestyle habits, we should be looking at how we can change our transportation to be more active and sit less. Cycling and walking can be good alternatives for shorter distances. For longer distances, public transportation and carpooling can be options that mean less sitting time

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