Frequent Travelers Are Almost Twice As Likely to Be Obese

Stressed and sleep-deprived business travelers tend to pack on the pounds

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Some workers may like the out-of-a-suitcase lifestyle romanticized in movies like Up in the Air, but it's unlikely those workers stay as fit as George Clooney or Anna Kendrick. An article in The Wall Street Journal today looks into the one major health disadvantage (beside jet lag) of taking one's business on the road: getting fat. According to a recent Columbia University study cited by The Journal, frequent business travelers--those who log 21 or more days away from home a month--are 92 percent more likely to be obese than workers who travel only one to six days per month. Those who travel a moderate amount--14 to 20 days--have a 13 percent greater risk of obesity than light travelers.

A host of factors drive road warriors' waists outward: lack of exercise, lack of sleep, high-calorie restaurant meals, stress, and sedentariness (especially for those stuck in a car all day). Heavy travelers were also 260 percent more likely to self-report their health as fair to poor than light travelers. They also tend to have high blood pressure and low levels of good cholesterol, though those difference were less pronounced. The irony of this story, though, is how airlines treat the passengers they fatten up: airlines now and then create a stir by charging more for passengers who can't fit into regular seats.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.