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!
Smart Data Transformation – Surfing the Big Wave
02.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Informationstechnik FIT
Climate change could outpace EPA Lake Champlain protections
18.11.2016 | University of Vermont
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
06.12.2016 | Materials Sciences
06.12.2016 | Medical Engineering
06.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering