IT’S OFFICIAL – being fat is not your fault! Scientific research has discovered that living near a main road causes people to gain weight, with the risk of obesity more than twice that for people who live in homes that are also under a flight path or near a railway line. People of Hounslow rejoice!
Researchers think that the stress caused from traffic noise raises stress levels to the point where your body starts to store extra fat in preparation for a crisis, when food might be in short supply. Apparently, normal traffic noise is about 45 decibels, but for every five decibels above that, the average homeowner can expect to have a 1.4cm larger waistline than those who live in the shires.
Living under a flight path combined with road and railway noise was also found to double the risk of obesity. It’s got nothing whatsoever to do with the amount of Jammy Dodgers or Jaffa Cakes we manage to shove down ourselves in the week. Being big-boned is no longer an excuse – it’s entirely down to where you live.
According to Dr Andrei Pyko, of the Karolinska Institute in Sweden: “Traffic noise is a common and increasing environmental exposure, primarily due to ongoing urbanisation and growth of the transport sector.
“Road traffic is the dominating force, followed by aircraft and railway noise. Health effects related to traffic noise are widespread and span from annoyance, sleep disturbance and changes in stress hormone levels to adverse effects on the cardiovascular system”.
Phew. What a result. We’re fat but it’s not our fault. Where is that emergency family bag of Maltesers?
Kevan Blackadder is a media consultant who runs Blackadder Media Limited. Kevan was previously editor of the Gloucestershire Echo and assistant editor of the Bristol Post. A Cumbrian who moved to the South West “for a couple of years” in the 1980s, he can’t quite believe he’s been there ever since.