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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Odd Factor That Leads to Obesity

Business Travel Linked to Obesity

Business people who travel two weeks or more every month report higher rates of obesity as well as higher blood pressure and greater risk of cardiovascular disease.


A recent study by Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health links frequent business travel with poor health and obesity. According to the study, which compiled data from the medical records of 13,000 employees, those who travel for business two weeks or more a month have higher body mass index, higher rates of obesity and poorer self-rated health than those who travel one to six days a month.

Among the 13,000 employees in the study, 80 percent reported traveling at least one night a month, while 1 percent travel 20 or more nights a month. Overall, researchers found that the group of businesspeople who traveled the most (20 or more days a month) have poorer health on several levels, including higher blood pressure and greater risk of cardiovascular disease, than those who travel less frequently.

Researchers also looked at the type of traveling done and found that 81 percent of business travel among the employees studied is done in personal automobiles, while air travel accounted for 16 percent of business traveling. Researchers note that the long hours of sitting in a car and poor food choices on the road are likely the main factors that contribute to the poor health of road warriors.

Additionally, the study asked traveling employees how they felt about their health overall, and frequent travelers were 260 percent more likely to rate their health as fair or poor compared to light travelers. According to Dr. Andrew Rundle, an author of the study and professor of epidemiology at the Mailman School, companies can begin to address the connection between business travel and increased health problems by "offering education programs and strategies for employees to improve diet and activity while traveling."

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