Obesity as the main reason behind a plethora of health issues: metabolic syndrome, heart attacks, hypertension, stroke, cardiovascular complications, gout and death is also the reason for accelerated car crashes, according to a new study: Influence of obesity on mortality of drivers in severe motor vehicle crashes (Jehle, Gemmeb & Jehlea, 2010).
Published in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine (December, 03) and funded in part by the U.S. Federal Highway Administration, the study proved that even moderately obese drivers are 21 percent more likely to die in a major vehicle crash comparatively to non-obese drivers, while severely obese are at risk of death by 56 percent. (Source, The American Journal of Emergency Medicine)
The purpose of the study was to investigate and to find out the relationship between driver body-size and death risk (mortality) of drivers involved in severe motor vehicle crashes with at least one fatality. In the study, the researchers analyzed data from the national Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), involving almost 156,000 drivers engaged in severe motor vehicle crashes, occurring in the period between 2000-2005. The study was similar to another one done in June 14, 2010 which correlated the death rate of obese (overweight) vs. not overweight belted vs. unbelted men and women belted men and women car deaths (Source, Cars Blog)
The drivers were divided into six categories, according to their BMI (body mass index): underweight, normal weight, overweight, slightly obese, moderately obese and morbidly obese. Data on cars, SUVs (Vans) and Pickups hat had been involved in severe crashes were mainly analyzed. The study included deaths that occurred within 30 days of the traffic accident, including those occurring during/after surgery. From a total of 168, 040 drivers- only 155,584 met the criteria for the research analysis. In the study was included a list of fatalities within 30 days of a crash.
According to the research done at the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, being just slightly overweight seemed to lower the odds for death in a severe car crash and these drivers were actually less likely to die than either underweight or normal-weight drivers. (Source, University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences)
The implications of the above study reflect throughout the statement of Dr. Dietrich Jehle (lead author and Professor of emergency medicine), “The rate of obesity is continuing to rise, so is it imperative that car designs are modified to protect the obese population, and that crash tests are done using a full range of dummy sizes. We recommend that manufacturers design and test vehicle interiors with obese dummies, which currently are not available. Extending the range of adjustable seats would be helpful, as well as encouraging moderately and morbidly obese individuals to buy larger vehicles with more space between the seat and the steering column.”
You can find out more about safe driving at the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Note * For more information on obesity, diets, metabolic syndrome and weight loss just click on the “Subscribe” button located on the top of this page, in order to receive the Milwaukee Diets Examiner and Metabolic Syndrome Examiner articles. Copyright @ 2010 Dr. Antoaneta Sawyer; All rights reserved