Those long commutes so typical of Southern California may be doing more than boring you and raising your fatigue level: They also raise your blood pressure and make you fatter, researchers reported Tuesday. For higher blood pressure, the effects kick in at about 10 miles, while for obesity they show up at about 15. Those who traveled the farthest to work every day were also those who were least likely to get adequate exercise. They probably also were more likely to eat fast food and to snack in the car, and were more highly stressed.
More people every day are commuting, and often for longer distances and times. Between 1960 and 2000, the number of Americans driving to work rose from 41.4 million to 112.7 million. From 1983 to 2001, the average commuting distance and time increased from 8.9 miles and 17.6 minutes to 12.1 miles and 22.5 minutes. According to data from the U.S. Census in 2010, about 28.5 million Americans travel 30 minutes or more to work. In SoCal, those numbers may be even higher, with large numbers of L.A. workers choosing to live in outlying counties.