Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Obesity increases risk of death in severe vehicle crashes, study shows

22.12.2010
Moderately and morbidly obese persons face many health issues -- heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, stroke, gallbladder disease and others.

Now, increased chances of dying while driving during a severe auto accident can be added to the list.

In a severe motor vehicle crash, a moderately obese driver faces a 21 percent increased risk of death, while the morbidly obese face a 56 percent increased risk of not surviving, according to a study posted online ahead of print in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine.

Dietrich Jehle, MD, professor of emergency medicine at the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and at Erie County Medical Center, is first author on the study.

Interestingly, underweight and normal weight drivers were found to be at higher risk of dying from a severe crash than slightly overweight drivers.

"The severity and patterns of crash injuries depend on a complex interaction of biomechanical factors, including deceleration velocity at impact, seat belt and air bag use, vehicle type and weight, and type of impact," says Jehle, "but the effect of body mass on crash outcome has not been previously evaluated in databases of adequate size or controlled for some of these confounding factors.

"Crash test dummies have saved lives and provided invaluable data on how human bodies react to crashes, but they are designed to represent normal-weight individuals. If they represented our overweight American society, there could be further improvements in vehicle design that could decrease mortality."

Based on this data, Jehle suggests several changes that might save lives. "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.

"We also recommend that manufacturers design and test vehicle interiors with obese dummies, which currently are not available, in addition to testing with the 50 percentile (BMI 24.3) male dummy," he adds. "It would improve safety for the one-third of the U.S. population that is obese. For underweight and normal weight individuals, placing airbags within the seat belt also might be protective."

Jehle and colleagues set out to investigate the relationship between driver body size and risk of crash-related fatality by analyzing data in the national Fatality Analysis Reporting System database (FARS).

According to FARS, to be included in the database a crash must involve: "a vehicle traveling on a roadway customarily open to the public and must result in the death of an occupant of a vehicle or a non-motorist." From the 168,049 drivers in severe motor vehicle crashes entered in the database, 155,584 met the criteria for inclusion in the analysis.

Drivers were grouped based on body mass index (BMI) -- weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared -- into underweight, normal, overweight, slightly obese, moderately obese and morbidly obese categories.

Severe crashes between 2000 and 2005 that involved one or two vehicles (cars, pickups, SUVs or vans) were used in the analysis. Fatalities considered related to the crash that occurred within 30 days of the crash, such as those resulting from surgery, also were included.

In addition to the overall results, data analyzed by sex show that in the moderately and morbidly obese categories, both male and female drivers independently demonstrated a statistically significant increase in death when compared with normal-weight drivers.

"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," Jehle states.

Seth Gemme, a UB medical student, is corresponding author on the paper. Christopher Jehle, a student at Miami University of Ohio, contributed to the study during a UB summer research program.

The research is funded in part by a grant from the Federal Highway Administration.

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, a flagship institution in the State University of New York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB's more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.

Lois Baker | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.buffalo.edu

Further reports about: BMI Biomedical Science FARS Medicine body mass morbidly obese motor vehicle seat belt

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Win-win strategies for climate and food security
02.10.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

nachricht The personality factor: How to foster the sharing of research data
06.09.2017 | ZBW – Leibniz-Informationszentrum Wirtschaft

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Salmonella as a tumour medication

HZI researchers developed a bacterial strain that can be used in cancer therapy

Salmonellae are dangerous pathogens that enter the body via contaminated food and can cause severe infections. But these bacteria are also known to target...

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

3rd Symposium on Driving Simulation

23.10.2017 | Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Microfluidics probe 'cholesterol' of the oil industry

23.10.2017 | Life Sciences

Gamma rays will reach beyond the limits of light

23.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

The end of pneumonia? New vaccine offers hope

23.10.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>