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Car Crashes More Deadly for Obese Drivers

Posted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 4:58 pm
by MSI
Jan 22, 2012: Scientific American: Car Crashes More Deadly for Obese Drivers:
  • Morbidly obese individuals: those with a BMI of 40 and above were 80 percent more likely to die in a car crash, according to a study published in the journal Emergency Medical Journal. In the study, obese drivers,those with a body mass index (BMI) between 30 and 35, were 20 percent more likely to die during a car crash compared to normal-weight individuals. Morbidly obese individuals, those with a BMI of 40 and above, were 80 percent more likely to die in a car crash. BMI is a ratio of weight to height and is considered an indicator of body fatness.
The article:
  • Driver obesity and the risk of fatal injury during traffic collisions
    by Thomas M Rice, Motao Zhu, Division of Environmental Health Sciences, Safe Transportation Education and Research Center, University of California
    • Background
      • Few studies have looked at how obesity affects injury outcomes among vehicle occupants involved in traffic collisions.
        Objective To estimate the association of obesity with death risk among drivers of passenger vehicles aged =16 and to examine effect modification by driver sex, driver seat belt use, vehicle type and collision type.
      • We conducted a matched-pair cohort study using data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System. WHO body mass index (BMI) categories were calculated. Data were analysed using conditional Poisson regression.
        Results Estimated risk ratios (RRs) were slightly raised for underweight drivers (RR=1.19, 95% CI 0.86 to 1.63).
        RR increased with higher BMI categories and were
        • 1.21 (0.98 to 1.49) for BMI 30-34.9,
          1.51 (1.10 to 2.08) for BMI 35-39.9 and
          1.80 (1.15 to 2.84) for BMI =40.
        Estimated BMI effects varied by gender.
        We found no meaningful variation across levels of vehicle type, collision type or seat belt use.
    • Conclusions
      • 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. Education is needed to improve seat belt use among obese people, as is research to understand the potential role of comorbidities in injury outcomes.