According to several estimates, more than 30% of the adults presently living in the United States are obese.
While most specialists settle for going on and on about how this can lead to their experiencing heart failures, strokes and the like, a new study argues that obese people are also more likely to die in car crashes.
The researchers who looked into this issue explain that their work mainly consisted in analyzing data provided by the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration concerning car crashes between the years 1996-2008.
After having processed this data, they have reached the conclusion that overweight drivers are more likely to die in a traffic accident than those whose body size falls between normal parameters.
EurekaAlert! explains that this is because the seat belts most cars are currently fitted with have a rather difficult time when it comes to holding obese drivers in their seat.
Thus, the extra soft tissue these people carry around their bodies prevents the seat belt from properly modeling itself around an individual's pelvic area. As a result, the seat belt is likely to fail to be activated on time, leading to the person's traveling farther from the seat.
As well as this, obese people are likely to have preexisting medical conditions that play their part in upping their chances to die in a car crash.
Raw numbers suggest that, all in all, level I obese drivers are 21% more likely to die in a car crash than normal weight people are, level II obese drivers are 51% more likely to pass away following a traffic accident and level III obese drivers are 80% more prone to car crash-related deaths.
“The ability of passenger vehicles to protect overweight or obese occupants may have increasingly important public health implications, given the continuing obesity epidemic in the USA,” researchers explain.
Furthermore, “It may be the case that passenger vehicles are well designed to protect normal weight vehicle occupants but are deficient in protecting overweight or obese occupants.”
The findings of this study were published in the scientific journal Emergency Medicine Journal yesterday, January 21.