Obesity and Type of Injuries suffered in an Auto Accident

A recent  study looked at variations in the motor vehicle injuries and deaths in a car crash by body mass index (BMI) and vehicle type.  This was a retrospective cohort study of people involved in

motor vehicle collisions, using data from the Crash Injury Research and Engineering Network and the National Automotive Sampling System Crashworthiness Data System

.  This was a large sampling size article.
Occupants were separated into passenger cars, sport utility vehicles, or light trucks and the occupants were divided into underweight, normal weight, overweight and obese. The risk of injury or

mortality was looked at for each vehicle type and each weight group.
About 44 million motor vehicle accident occupants were looked at between 2000 and 2009. A total of 37 percent were injured. The study was limited  to people who had a score of 2 or more on the

Abbreviated Injury Scale. This amounted to 17 million total injuries. Obesity was a risk factor for mortality with an odds ratio of 1.6.

When looked at by vehicle type, the odds ratio for those in a light truck was 2.1, for normal sized passenger cars, it was 1.6 and for SUVs, the odds ratio was 2.0.

There appeared to be an increased risk of death in obese people riding larger vehicles.

Being overweight was a risk factor in those riding light trucks with an odds ratio of 1.5.
A second study looked at the effect of body weight on the risk of dying or having serious injuries to occupants in motor vehicle accidents.

They did a retrospective cohort study looking at data from the National Automotive Sampling System and the Crashworthiness Data System from 1993 to 1996.

The study looked at two outcomes: The first was a death within thirty days of the crash and the second was the injury severity score or ISS.

The weight of the occupant was known in more than 27,000 cases in the CDS database. The overall mortality rate was 0.67 percent.

A high body weight index (BWI)  was associated with greater injuries and death. The odds ratio for death was 1.013 for each kilogram increased body weight.
The odds ratio for serious injury with an ISS score of greater than 9 was 1.008 for each kilogram increase in body weight.

This ratio persisted regardless of the size of the vehicle, patient age, gender, seatbelt use. The conclusion is that  an increased BMI is  a risk factor of  injury or death in motor vehicle accidents.


I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Personal Injury Attorney  with the primary accident information site on the web, www.AutoAccident.com.

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