LIVING NEAR BUSY ROAD GIVES YOU A POT BELLY; 'Traffic din increases waist size'.
Byline: ANDREW GREGORY Health Editor
PEOPLE living near noisy traffic are more likely to develop a pot belly, a study has found.
Waist measurements go up by a fifth of a centimetre for every extra five decibels from neighbouring railways, flight paths or busy roads.
Being exposed to any one of these increases the risk of a tubby tum by around a quarter - though aircraft noise has the strongest link. Those bombarded with all three at once have nearly double the risk.
The flab piles on around the waist only, with no link between traffic noise and an increased overall weight-to-height ratio.
The findings were not influenced by wealth, lifestyle, or pollution.
Noise exposure may bump up production of stress hormone cortisol, thought to have a key role in a bulging waistline - one of the most dangerous types of fat deposit, linked to increased risk of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.
Study leader Professor Goran Pershagen of the Institute of Environmental Medicine in Stockholm, Sweden, said: "This may explain why the effects of noise were mainly seen for markers of central obesity rather than generalised obesity."
Loss of sleep may also increase appetite and sap energy levels, according to the study of 5,000 patients published in Occupational and Environmental Medicine. But Dr Anna Hansell of Imperial College London said: "It's too soon to blame your waistline on traffic noise."
TUBBY Fat stomach