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Obesity and a Car Accident

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As most people know, there are many health risks that are associated with obesity. The risk for many different kinds of diseases and illnesses is increased by obesity.


Now, apparently, there is another risk that is being associated with obesity. A new study now claims that your risk of being in a car accident, as well as receiving more serious injuries in that car accident, may be increased by obesity.

This comes from a study that was done by Canadian scientists at the University of Laval. The study by these Canadian scientists was published in the Journal of Transportation Safety and Security.

An increased risk for those morbidly obese


What this study sets forth is that there could be an increased risk for having a car accident as a result of weight-related health complications in drivers who are morbidly obese. The study goes on to say that obesity may cause a driver to be in more critical condition after a car accident due to car designs being less considerate of people who are obese.

The Canadian scientists in this study also looked at other studies that had previously been done. One of these was a study that revealed that a man who had a body mass index that was more than 30 had a greater risk of sustaining upper chest, spinal and head injuries in a car accident than a man with a body mass index less than 30.

Another study that the Canadian scientists examined showed that 800,000 drivers in the United States who had obstructive sleep apnea-hypopnea had car accidents that were related to illness in the year 2000. This backed up the claim by these Canadian scientists that illnesses related to obesity are a contributing factor in a car accident.

Poor car-to-person fit


In a portion of the study that was published by the Ottawa Citizen, the study said, “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 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 revealed that the majority of cars are designed for a person who weighs 163 pounds. The Canadian scientists who did this study said that carmakers ought to make an effort to try and design cars that are equipped with safety features that are more adjustable. This would then provide protection for drivers who are of different sizes.

Another study that was done by Dietrich Jehle, a professor of emergency medicine at the University at Buffalo School of Medicine, along with his colleagues, revealed that drivers with moderate obesity are at a 21% greater risk and drivers with morbid obesity are at a 56% greater risk of being killed in a car accident than a person of normal weight. In this study, drivers who were slightly overweight were found to have the smallest risk of being killed in a car accident as opposed to drivers who were underweight and normal weight.
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