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Being Overweight Could Create a Higher Risk of a Serious Car Accident

Among Americans of age 20 or older, 149.3 million are overweight or obese. There are many health risks to being overweight, but a new study shows that being involved in a serious car accident could be one of them.

The study was conducted by Canadian scientists at the University of Laval and was published in the Journal of Transportation Safety & Security. The scientists claim that drivers who are morbidly obese (which is calculated by body mass index or BMI of 40 and over) are at a higher risk of a vehicle crash due to weight related complications and that the crash can lead to more severe injuries.

A portion of the study was released in the Ottawa Citizen and stated, “Poor car-to-person fit is thought to be the leading cause of the increased risk of injury and fatality in [car accidents] for [people] who are obsess or overweight versus [people] who are obese or overweight versus [people] who are normal weight. For all those individuals that have a body structure different than [the standard used in designing cars], their interactions with the safety features, such as the seatbelts and airbags, may not occur as intended.”

The study determined that many cars are designed for someone that weighs 163-pounds or less. This leaves the people who weigh more at greater risk of injury because the vehicle itself is ill equipped to properly protect the overweight person.

During this study, the Canadian scientists examined previous studies done on the issue of car accidents related to obesity . One such study found that men with a BMI of above 30 were more likely to suffer facial, spinal, head, and upper chest injuries as opposed to those with a BMI of less than 30.

Another study examined by the scientists found that 800,000 American drivers suffering from obstructive sleep apnea-hypopnea were involved in illness-related car accidents in 2000. This supports the study’s claim that obesity can contribute to the risks of car accidents and severe injuries that can occur.

Source: CBS Seattle: Study: Obesity Increases the Driver’s Risk of Being In A Car Accident