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Obesity may increase fatality risks in a car accident

There are many factors that influence the likelihood of death in a car accident, from the speed of the vehicles to the ages of the drivers to the very types of vehicles involved in the accident. However, one factor that plays a significant role, and that many people don't often consider, is the weight of the people in those vehicles.

One study examined this relationship and found that the risk of death actually rose for men who were obese. It called the increase in risk significant, demonstrating that simply staying in shape could help people live through otherwise deadly accidents.

Interestingly, the study did not find the same thing to be true for women. Their risk of death stayed the same, whether or not they counted as "obese" when looking at body mass index.

To find out what other factors contributed, the study results were modified to look at the type of crash, the age of those involved, whether or not airbags deployed and if seat belts were used. What it found was that those factors did not change the overall trend, as obesity increased the risks for men regardless.

Why is this important? A BMI that exceeds 30 is viewed as obese by the medical community. Statistics show that more than 30 percent of Americans fall into this category. With car accidents as one of the main causes of injury-related fatalities, that means many Americans with excessively high BMIs may pass away every year.

Weight is merely one risk factor of many, and it is important to know the risks on Michigan's highways, but it's also important to know your legal rights. If another driver causes an accident leading to serious injury or death, you or your family members may be able to seek compensation.

Source: NCBI, "Obesity and Risk for Death Due to Motor Vehicle Crashes," Shankuan Zhu, accessed Feb. 20, 2017

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