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Noise and Fat

Zoomer Report2019-9-10By: Libby Znaimer

Here’s another reason to hate excessive noise. According to Swedish researchers. Exposure to noise from traffic, trains, planes and maybe even deafening restaurants could be linked to a burgeoning belly.

The study in Occupational & Environmental Medicine followed 5000 people around Stockholm for four years. It found that women had a 0.08-inch increase in waist size for every additional 5 decibels in noise exposure. For men the increase was .06 inches. And the risk of a larger waist rose with the number of sources of noise someone was exposed to at the same time.

The scientists speculate that long-term exposure to noise, especially from traffic may affect our metabolism and lead to abdominal obesity. That’s because noise is stressful, and stress can alter levels of hormones which influence where in the body excess calories are deposited. Earlier research has shown associations between traffic noise and high blood pressure and heart attacks. They conclude that since abdominal obesity is a risk factor for many diseases, including heart disease and diabetes   noise should be recognized a serious threat to public health.


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