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Car Accidents More Fatal for Obese People

If you have been trying to lose weight, then here is some information that will motivate you a little bit more. A recent study by UC Berkeley’s SafeTREC (Safe Transportation and Research Education Center) showed that people who were obese had an 80% higher chance of dying in a car crash than drivers who were of healthy weight.

It is a rather morbid statistic, but it proves a point – being overweight is not just unhealthy, it is also unsafe.

Levels of Obesity Increase Risk

The co-author of this study, research epidemiologist Thomas Rice, stated that this study highlighted yet another negative outcome of obesity.

The study used data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System to get information on over 41,000 collisions. The victims’ height and weight statistics to calculate their BMI (Body Mass Index) were then mapped to this data.

The findings were startling. Those with BMIs below normal or at normal levels had more or less the same fatality rates. However, as the BMI increase, so did the death rate.

It was calculated that a person with a BMI of between 30 and 34.9 had a 21% chance of dying in a car collision. Those with BMIs between 35 and 39.9 had a 51% chance of death. And among people with BMIs that were above 40, the possibility of dying in a collision rose to a massive 80%.

Cars are Not Designed for the Obese

One of the most critical findings of this study was that car designs did not account for obese people. The director of Yale’s Prevention Research Center, Dr. David Katz stated that safety systems in cars were built for people whose size was in the average range and that those who were larger were less catered.

The first thing noted was that car seat-belts did not function properly for obese people. This is because the excess body fat around the mid-section prevented the appropriate engagement between the lap belt and the pelvis of the person. It is an essential point since the lap belt is what prevents a person from being thrown forward in the event of a forward collision. 

If such a collision were to occur, then an obese person – whose lap belt is not adjusted correctly – would be thrown forward. This situation could lead to some severe injuries and even death.

Underlying Health Problems Could Also Contribute to Higher Fatality Rates

The second conclusion from this study was that there were underlying reasons due to which obese people had higher fatality rates in car accidents. The assumption was that obese people tend to have multiple chronic health conditions due to their weight, which could make survival or even recovery from such serious collisions very difficult.

Most obese people have a higher risk of developing multiple health problems, such as insulin resistance, Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, sleep apnea, restricted mobility, and so on.

Obesity Affects Every Part of Your Life

When we think about the impact obesity has on our health, we should think about all aspects, including mortality and being able to live a healthy life.If you are obese and are involved in a car accident, you might face further prejudice when you file for an insurance claim. A car accident attorney that is both knowledgeable and experienced is someone you will mostly need to be by your side.

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