Three Links between Injuries and Obesity

Injuries and obesity are intertwined in three ways that recent research illustrates.

  1. Obesity increases the risk of injuries. Multiple studies have recently documented a significantly increased risk of injuries for people with obesity. Risk of occupational injuries were shown to be 20% higher in one recent study. Although elevated risks for many types of injuries were noted in the research, clinicians deal with knee and back injuries with considerable frequency in people with obesity.
  2. Obesity leads to more serious injuries. A new study this week shed some light on prior studies that found a higher risk of fatalities in auto accidents for people with obesity. The new study found that healthy weight people were 67% more likely to use seatbelts that people with severe obesity. A study published this month in the Emergency Medicine Journal found the risk of death was 80% higher for people with severe obesity (BMI > 40) than for healthy weight people in the same accident.
  3. Injuries increase the risk of obesity. A pair of recent studies have shown an increased risk of obesity in people with injuries. In one study, researchers found the risk of clinically significant weight gain doubled in women and workers who are out of work for more than 180 days after an occupational back injury. In a study of young women playing soccer or basketball, researchers found significant increases in BMI and body fat following a knee injury compared to subjects without an injury.

Ouch! It seems that injuries and obesity are linked in a vicious cycle with each contributing to the risk of the other. So, click here for tips on injury-free fitness, and here for ways to avoid weight gain after an injury.

Click here to read more from ConscienHealth, here to read the study of seatbelt use in people with obesity, here to read the study of automobile fatality risk and obesity, here to read the study of back injuries and weight gain, and here to read the study of knee injuries and weight gain in young female athletes.

Accident Zone, photograph © Dhoomakethu!! / flickr

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