Business Travel Is Making You Fat

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Photo: Flickr/Tim Parkinson

Here’s another reason to give videoconferencing a try: Researchers at Columbia University‘s Mailman School of Public Health have found that people who do a ton of business travel are likely to be a whole lot less healthy than those who only travel a little.Andrew Rundle and Catherine Richards used the health records of more than 13,000 people in a corporate wellness program to determine the health status of frequent travellers–those who were on the road at least two weeks each month–compared to light travellers, who were away from home only one to six nights a month. If you’re a road warrior, you’re not going to like the results:

  • Frequent travellers had, on average, a higher body mass index than light travellers (those who were on the road only one to six days a month). So they were more likely to be overweight.
  • Frequent travellers had less “good” cholesterol than light travellers.
  • Frequent travellers had higher blood pressure than light travellers.
  • Frequent travellers were three times more likely to rate their own health as “poor” or “fair” compared to light travellers. This is especially worrisome, since your own assessment of your health is actually a very strong predictor of mortality-much stronger than the ‘medical’ indicators listed above.

Interestingly, those who didn’t travel at all also rated their health as relatively poor. The researchers say that may be because those who know their health is poor are less likely to seek out jobs where travel is required.

The authors say that 81 per cent of business travel is done by car, which means travellers are likely to sedentary for long periods of time and may not have healthy food choices readily available.

I’m sure sitting for long hours in your car isn’t good for your health, but what about stress? Do you think the stress of constantly being away from home could be affecting the health of frequent travellers?

This post originally appeared at BNET.

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