Correlation found between busy roads and obesity


New research has suggested living next to a busy road can lead to less active lifestyles and increase the risk of obesity.

Published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), the research found a correlation between those who live near particularly busy roads and obesity, with scientists suggesting they may have lower energy levels as a result of interrupted sleep, resulting in less exercise and more sedentary lifestyles.

Those who lived under a flight path or near an airport were most likely to suffer from weight problems as a result of noise pollution.

The study of more than 5,000 men and women in Sweden, found that for every five-decibel increase above the standard traffic noise level of 45dB, the average person has an extra 0.2cm on their waist measurement.

Andrei Pyko, lead author of the study at Sweden's Karolinska Institutet, said: ‘Traffic noise is a common and increasing environmental exposure, primarily due to ongoing urbanisation and growth of the transport sector.

‘Road traffic is the dominating source, followed by railway and aircraft noise. Health effects related to traffic noise are widespread and span from annoyance, sleep disturbances and changes in stress hormone levels to adverse effects on the cardiovascular system.

‘Increasing evidence points to traffic noise as a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension, myocardial infarction and stroke. Recent findings suggest that traffic noise may also affect the metabolic system, for example, inducing central obesity and type 2 diabetes.’

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