In December 2018 researchers from Switzerland published the results of their study to assess the association of long-term exposure to road, railway and aircraft noise with obesity. A total of 3,796 individuals, aged 29-72 years, were involved in the study. Each individual was assessed for BMI, waist circumference and body fat. Information on 5-year average noise exposure levels was collected at the start of the study and during follow-up visits. Results showed that exposure to road traffic noise was significantly associated with an increased BMI, waist circumference, body fat and with an overall increased risk of obesity. Railway noise was significantly related to an increased risk of being overweight. A further analysis revealed a stronger association between road traffic noise and BMI among individuals with cardiovascular disease. An association between railway noise and BMI among individuals reporting bad sleep was also identified. No association was observed for aircraft noise. The researchers therefore concluded that long-term exposure to transport noise, particularly road traffic noise, may increase the risk of obesity which could in turn lead to the development of cardiometabolic and other diseases.
Foraster M et al. Long-term exposure to transportation noise and its association with adiposity markers and development of obesity. Environ Int. 2018 Dec;121(Pt 1):879-889.