By Kristin Varela on January 23, 2013
A new study by the Emergency Medicine Journal finds that overweight drivers are between 20 and 80 times more likely to die in car crashes than individuals with a "normal" body mass index below 30. As if we needed more incentive stay away from those extra cupcakes and re-up our gym memberships this year.
The theory is that overweight individuals have more medical issues and complications, such as heart disease and diabetes, and may be less able to pull through difficult surgeries following a car crash. In addition, proper seat belt fit for optimal restraint in the event of a crash is much more difficult for an obese person.
The study's researchers note that crash-test dummies only represent non-obese drivers and urge the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to consider modifying the crash-test dummies to be more consistent with the wide range of drivers' weights. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 35.7% of the population is obese.
Don't get too aggressive with your workout routine, however. Underweight individuals (with a body mass index under 18.5) are at higher risk for death in car crashes as well. In a crash, they might have additional health complications due to their low weight, and they lack extra padding to help absorb the force of impact.
Maybe just one cupcake would be OK.
Senior Family Editor Kristin Varela blends work and family life by driving her three tween-teen girls every which way in test cars. Email Kristin