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Obese people more likely to die in car crashes

Photo courtesy of Flickr / Haleyface

blog by S.J. Velasquez  • 

Back in 2010, UB researchers found that obese drivers are more likely to die in severe traffic accidents. Now, an update to the study reveals one major factor for increases mortality rates among beefier drivers: seatbelts—or lack thereof.

According to the new research information, obese people are far less likely to wear safety belts in cars. Normal-weight drivers are 67 percent more likely to buckle up.

“It’s clear that not wearing a seatbelt is associated with a higher chance of death,” said Dietrich Jehle, professor of emergency medicine at UB and associate medical director at Erie County Medical Center. “We hypothesized that obese drivers were less likely to wear seatbelts than their normal-weight counterparts. Obese drivers may find it more difficult to buckle up a standard seatbelt.”

The 2010 study had revealed that morbidly obese people are 56 percent more likely to die in a severe crash than people of normal weight.

“We found that the relationship between the amount of obesity and seatbelt use was linear; the more obese the driver, the less likely that seatbelts were used,” Jehle said in the UB article published last week.

Photo courtesy of Flickr / Haleyface.

TAGGED: car accidents, obesity, research, ub

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