Long-term exposure to road traffic noise is associated with increased risk of obesity. This was the conclusion of a study involving the participation of the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), a research center supported by the “la Caixa” Banking Foundation. The study has been published in Environment International.

The authors of this study wanted to find out whether new research would confirm the results of the few earlier studies that had demonstrated associations between traffic noise and several markers for obesity. To do this, they studied 3796 adults who took part in the population-based Swiss SAPALDIA cohort study and had attended at least two follow-up visits between 2001 and 2011. The study is based on objective measures, such as the participants’ weight, height, body mass index, waist circumference, and abdominal fat. These data were analyzed together with estimates of exposure to transportation noise developed in the context of the Swiss SiRENE project.

“Our analysis shows that people exposed to the highest levels of traffic noise are at greater risk of being obese” explains ISGlobal research Maria Foraster, first author of the study. “For example, we observed that a 10 dB increase in mean noise level was associated with a 17% increase in obesity.”

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