Research reveals obesity big risk for car wrecks

Miami residents who want to avoid fatal car accidents might not find the answer in their car or even on the road. The answer may be in the gym or even in their own refrigerator. This is because a recent research study conducted by epidemiologists revealed that it is 80 percent more likely for an obese person to die in a car accident versus someone of an average weight.

Generally speaking, obesity is not advisable and carries with it various health risks including heart problems, depression, and diabetes. All of these factors can make treating an obese person more challenging for medical staff resulting in more fatalities. The insufficient wearing of seat belts by those who are overweight is also a factor. Some may skip wearing a belt because it is uncomfortable, and many of those who do wear the belts are not fully protected because the belt does not lay across the person’s lap, which the optimal placement for safety.

It seems the heavier a person is, the greater the chance is that they will not survive a car crash. Those who have a body mass index of 40 or more have an 80 percent higher risk of a fatality. The rate drops to 51 percent for those whose BMI is between 35-39.9, and down to 21 percent for BMIs between 30 and 34.9.

With obesity plaguing more than a third of U.S. adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention it is important for obese people to wear their seat belts, even if that means they need to carry a seat belt extender. Car manufacturers also need to develop seat belts that are better able to accommodate larger passengers.

Source: Reuters, “Obese Drivers up to 80% More Likely to Die in Car Crashes,” Mark Chalon Smith, Jan. 31, 2013