Friday, March 03, 2006

Weight Plays a role in fatal car crashes

Weight Plays a Role in Fatal Car Crashes

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Being obese can increase a man's risk of dying in a motor vehicle accident.

New research from the Medical College of Wisconsin Injury Research Center in Milwaukee analyzed data of more than 22,000 drivers ages 16 and older. It reveals men who are very slim as well as those who are obese are more likely to die in a car crash.

"Men with the highest body mass index (BMI) were at greatest risk for death from front or left-side collisions, especially at high speeds," says Shankuan Zhu, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of family and community medicine. "Men with the lowest BMI also had higher death rates than the lowest rates, which were found among overweight, but not obese men."

Dr. Zhu says this may be because moderately overweight men have more insulating tissue without a significant increase in mass, which could cushion the blow.

Researchers also found obesity does not affect a woman's risk of dying in a car crash. They say this could be partly due to the difference in body shape between men and women.

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of injury-related death in the United States, killing more than 42,000 people in 2002.

SOURCE: American Journal of Public Health, published online March 1, 2006

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