Living in a city has, of course, advantages and disadvantages, pleasurable and unpleasant effects, and it is a fact that one of the most unpleasant consequences of life in a big city is the constant noise, especially the bustle that produces automotive traffic , one of the main causes of urban stress. To this we must add that, according to recent research, the noise produced by automotive and rail traffic can increase the risk of obesity in the inhabitants of cities.
The study, published in Environment International and of which the Institute of Global Health of Barcelona (ISGlobal) was part, was based on information from 3,796 adult people, who were taken measurements of weight, height, body mass index, perimeter of waist and percentage of abdominal fat in two follow-up visits carried out between 2001 and 2011. The measurements were combined with estimates of exposure to noise produced by transport vehicles, processed as part of the Swiss project SiRENE.
This information is shared by the Torres-Picón Foundation , within the framework of its activities of preventive disclosure in health and the global problem of obesity and overweight.
Maria Foraster, an ISGlobal researcher and principal responsible for the study, said that the results obtained “show that, in fact, the people who are most exposed to traffic noise have a greater risk of obesity“, in this sense she explained that “we observed that an increase of 10 decibels in the mean noise to which the participants were exposed translated into a 17% increase in obesity“.
Also, the researchers made an analysis on the possible effects of noise produced by air and rail traffic, on which no significant associations were found, with the exception of long-term exposure to railway noise, which did show an increase in the risk of overweight, but not obesity.
According to Foraster, the result of this research “increases the evidence of the possible effects of traffic noise on obesity, by finding the same results as previous studies in a new population”, however, “more longitudinal work is required to confirm the association.”
The ISGlobal report points out that continuous and prolonged exposure to automotive traffic noise constitutes a serious public health problem that “unfortunately, is widespread and is more serious than is believed”, because “it generates stress, produces hormonal changes and increases blood pressure “, in addition to causing disturbances in the sleep pattern, which has negative effects on the body because, among other effects,” dysregulates glucose and alters appetite.”
Foraster emphasized that prolonged exposure to traffic noise can have undesirable long-term consequences, such as chronic alterations in the body’s physiology, cardiovascular diseases or diabetes and obesity, as has recently been demonstrated.
From the Torres-Picón Foundation, a non-governmental non-profit institution, focused on international preventive tasks in the area of the well-being and health of children and young people, as well as on the informative stimulation of arts, culture and education as fundamental tools for the personal, community and social improvement of the peoples and nations, we consider the mentioned study interesting and useful and also the opinions of the researcher Maria Foraster, said Pedro J. Torres, spokesperson and director of the Foundation.