A Swedish study found that belly fat could be related to traffic noise!
Published in Occupational & Environmental Medicine, the research showed a link between exposure to road traffic, rail, and aircraft noise pollution and midriff bulge—one of the most harmful types of fat deposit in the body.
It was found that exposure to any of the three noise sources resulted in a wider waist. For women, there was a 0.21-centimeter increase in size for every additional 5 decibel increase in the traffic noise. For the men, there was a change of 0.16 in waist-hip ratio for every 5-decibel increase. (Note that car and truck horns are around a hundred decibels, and 5 decibels is just slightly softer than the sound of rustling leaves in the distance.)
The more people are exposed to more sources of noise pollution, the greater they are at risk of more belly fat. For those exposed to road traffic, rail, and aircraft noises, the risk doubled from the 25 percent risk people exposed to only one source already have.
Sixty-two percent of respondents are exposed to road traffic noise of at least 45 decibels (that’s just like a quiet library!) while one in 20 were exposed to trains. A thousand were exposed to aircraft noise of more than 45 decibels. In total, 54 percent were exposed to one source of traffic noise, 15% to two sources, and 2% to three.
The test results are based on 5,075 people from five suburban and rural areas around Stockholm and their exposure to traffic noise since 1999. All of them are also part of the Stockholm Diabetes Prevention Programme, which seeks to study the development of the disease and ways to prevent it.
Wow, time to invest in ear plugs!