Excessive Business Travel Tied to Poor Health, Obesity

Heavy travelers more likely to report poor health than light travelers, nontravelers

FRIDAY, May 20 (HealthDay News) -- People who travel extensively for business are more likely to be obese and to rate their health as poor or fair than peers whose business travel demands are lighter, according to research published in the April issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Catherine A. Richards, M.P.H., and Andrew G. Rundle, Dr.P.H., of Columbia University in New York City, consulted data from the medical records of 13,057 individuals to assess associations between business travel and cardiovascular disease risk factors.

The researchers found that, compared with light travelers (one to six nights per month), nontravelers were more likely to rate their health as poor or fair (odds ratio, 1.58), as were extensive travelers (more than 20 nights per month; odds ratio, 2.61). The odds ratios increased with increasing travel. Also compared with light travelers, the odds ratios for obesity were highest among extensive travelers (1.92) and nontravelers (1.33). Extensive travelers and nontravelers had the lowest levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and the highest diastolic blood pressure, though the differences were small.

"Our results suggest that individuals who travel extensively for work are at increased risk for health problems and should be encouraged to monitor their health. The mechanisms through which business travel is associated with health require further investigation so that appropriate occupational health prevention programs may be developed," the authors conclude.

Rundle serves on the medical advisory board of EHE International.

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