Obese Men Fare Worse In Car Crashes : Shots - Health News If you're an obese man, you not only have a higher risk for heart disease and diabetes but also of being seriously injured in a car crash.
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Obese Men Fare Worse In Car Crashes

Watch your weight for crash safety. iStockphoto.com hide caption

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Watch your weight for crash safety.

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If you're an obese man, you not only have a higher risk for heart disease and diabetes but also of being seriously injured in a car crash.

Work just published by the online journal Public Library of Science Medicine shows that obese men are more prone to serious injuries of the upper body than men of normal weight and those who are just a little bit heavy in a head-on collision. A similar pattern wasn't found in women.

To find out the effects of weight on crash risks, a team from Injury Research Center at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee came up with fat crash test dummies in a computerized simulation of crashes. Typically, dummies of normal weight and dimensions are used for the design and testing of vehicle interiors. But more than 30 percent of American adults are obese.

Tests confirmed what the researchers found in real-world data taken from the federal National Automotive Sampling System on about 11,000 head-on collisions: Obese male drivers had a higher risk of more serious injuries and injuries to the head, face, chest and spine. Overweight people had a lower risk of injury.Women suffered more injuries in the abdominal region.

Differences in body shape and distribution of fat in men and women, especially the amount of fat around the waist and hip may be a factor.

The researchers say the findings may help identify people at highest risk for injury and help car companies make safer cars.

Correction: The initial version of this post incorrectly said two-thirds of drivers in the U.S. are obese. Nearly two-thirds of American adults are overweight, but a little less than one-third are obese.