Scientists at the Medical Collegeof Wisconsin’s Injury Research Centerstudied 11,000 drivers between 2001 and 2005 and recently concluded that in caraccidents, obese men are much more likely to sustain serious upper bodyinjuries than are normal weight men or women. Obese men had a substantiallyhigher risk of injury to the upper body (head, face, chest, and spine) than menwith a normal weight.
Thestudy found that the increased risks could be attributed to differences in bodyshape, fat distribution, and center of gravity between obese and normal weightmen, and between men and women.
Thestudy recommends motor vehicle safety features should be designed to take intoaccount the obesity epidemic in this country. Although two-thirds of people inthe U.S.are now overweight or obese, crash test dummies with a normal BMI are usedduring the design of car cabins. The study’s findings could have importantimplications for motor vehicle design in protecting vulnerable body regions.