Does riding Metro count as my exercise for the day?

Photo courtesy of
‘The working escalator’
courtesy of ‘ianseanlivingston’

It’s no surprise that there’s a correlation between rates of people driving to work and higher rates of obesity, but GOOD has created a fun new graphic that shows it in an interesting way.  This map of the US shows rates of walking, biking, and taking transit to work alongside obesity rates.  Since DC is compared to more spread out states, we obviously come in first place in the walking/biking/transit commute rates, and we’re third lowest (behind super-active Colorado and Connecticut) in statewide obesity rates.

The typical caveat applies here: when DC is compared to states the results should be taken with a grain of salt.  Virtually any dense city would beat out  statewide averages in terms of rates of taking non-motorized transportation to work.  And we shouldn’t pat ourselves on the back too much– there’s still a lot of work to be done to reduce obesity in DC.  While overall the District may be considered healthy and active, the obesity rates in Wards 7 and 8 are nearly double the District average (and much worse than the national average).

But still, next time you’re stuck walking up a broken Metro escalator, remind yourself that it’s keeping you fit!

Shannon grew up in the greater DC area/Maryland suburbs, went to Virginia for college and grad school (go Hoos!), and settled in DC in 2006. She’s an urban planner who loves transit (why yes, that is her dressed as a Metro pylon for Halloween), cities, and all things DC. Email her at Shannon (at)!

2 thoughts on “Does riding Metro count as my exercise for the day?

  1. There have been a few times in the past, when 2 of the 3 escalators at Capitol South were out of service and so I had to walk down the steps into the station. The only working escalator was going up. This station has a long escalator, but not as long as Dupont Circle or Foggy Bottom

  2. Pingback: Do national numbers inaccurately represent Washington, DC’s obesity condition? what electronic and personal health records can do to help | Ted Eytan, MD