Living in a noisy area increases your chance of being overweight

Sarah Spickernell
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Main roads are bad for waistlines (Source: Getty)

Busy roads, rattling trains and aircraft taking off are just some of the unwanted sounds Londoners are exposed to on a daily basis, but it turns out the impact of all that noise extends far deeper than passing irritation.

The noisier the area you live in, the larger your waistline is likely to be, according to a study published in the British Medical Journal. Those who live next to main roads or close to airport runways are at higher risk of suffering from obesity and all the associated illnesses, such as diabetes, researchers claim.
The study looked at where 5,000 people lived in terms of noise pollution and compared this to their waistlines. Each five-decibel increase in noise above the standard traffic level of 45dB resulted in a 0.2cm increase in waist circumference.
Andrei Pyko, researcher at Sweden's Karolinska Institutet and lead author of the study, said traffic has become a "common and increasing environmental exposure" with greater urbanisation

Lower motivation

The relationship between noise pollution and weight comes down mainly to sleep, since living in a noisy area makes it difficult to get proper rest.
"Sleep is an important modulator of hormonal release, glucose regulation and cardiovascular function,” said Pyko.
Sleep disturbances may affect immune functions, influence the central control of appetite and energy expenditure as well as increase circulating levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
Health effects related to traffic noise are widespread and span from annoyance, sleep disturbances and changes in stress hormone levels to adverse effects on the cardiovascular system.

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