Road traffic noise could increase obesity risk, says study


A new study report published in the journal Environment International has suggested that long-term exposure to road traffic noise could increase the risk of obesity.

The study conducted by researchers at the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) aimed to affirm the findings of previous studies that demonstrated the connections between traffic noises and markers of obesity.

During the study, researchers at ISGlobal, researchers studied the health status of 3796 people who took part in the population-based Swiss SAPALDIA cohort study. Researchers also analyzed various factors of the participants like weight, height, body mass index, waist circumference, and abdominal fat, and later checked whether these factors are influenced by increased exposure to road traffic.

Maria Foraster, a researcher at the ISGlobal who is the lead author of the study revealed that a 10 dB increase in mean noise level is directly associated with a 17 percent increase in obesity.

"Our analysis shows that people exposed to the highest levels of traffic noise are at greater risk of being obese. For example, we observed that a 10 dB increase in mean noise level was associated with a 17% increase in obesity," said Foraster in a recently issued statement adding that more longitudinal studies should be conducted to conclude the association between increased risk of obesity and exposure to traffic sounds.

"Our study contributes additional evidence to support the hypothesis that traffic-related noise affects obesity because the results we obtained in a different population were the same as those reported by the authors of earlier studies. Nevertheless, more longitudinal studies are needed to confirm the association and to examine certain inconsistencies in the data which, to date, have prevented us from formulating an explanation accepted by the scientific community as a whole," she said.

A few months back, a team of Harvard researchers had revealed that chemicals in nonstick panels could result in weight gain. The researchers found that nonstick pans contain traces of perfluoroalkyl substances that may contribute to obesity.

This article was first published on November 19, 2018