Obesity is an ongoing global health concern, perhaps second only to the trend of climate change, and a recent study has discovered that auto accidents are a new venue of risk of fatality for obese people. Recently published research has indicated that the significantly overweight are 80% more likely to perish in an auto accident.
The study examined 6,806 drivers involved in 3,403 accidents. All involved took place in the US and 18% fell into the category of obese, 33% just overweight, and 46% were at a healthy weight, during the time of the accidents. The accidents occurred between 1996 and 2008.
Those with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40 and above demonstrated an 80% higher likelihood of death in a car crash. Obese women in particular demonstrated an even greater risk than men. Women with a BMI over 35 exhibited double the risk of dying.
‘Findings from this study suggest that obese vehicle drivers are more likely to die from traffic collision-related injuries than non-obese occupants involved in the same collision,’ reported Dr. Tom Rice, of the University of California Berkeley, lead author on the paper.
BMI figures were taken from the World Health Organization (WHO).
Conclusions of the paper also reported that education is needed to improve seat belt use in obese people and recommended additional result to understand seat belt’s role in fatalities.
‘Education is needed to improve seat belt use among obese people. Clinical intervention could inform obese patients of the additional traffic injury risks and potential benefits of losing weight,’ added Dr. Rice.
Interestingly enough, the results of the study, which were based on regression analysis of statistics, found no meaningful variation across different kinds of vehicles or collision type (basically meaning that similar cars and similar kinds of accidents were analyzed to rule out other causal factors).
The trend of growing obesity both in the US and abroad continues, seemingly unabated. This new report gives credence to yet another opportunity for obese individuals to lower their health risks by getting back in shape.
However, much like the threat of climate change, meaningful action might be delayed until after its too late.
Image: Wikimedia Commons
Source: Rice T, & Zhu M (2013) Driver Obesity and The Risk of Fatal Injury During Traffic Collisions Emergency Medicine Journal DOI: 10.1136/emermed-2012-201859
risks of obesity, obesity health risks, obesity deaths, seatbelts safety, seat belt safety statistics