Urban noise linked to ‘midriff bulge’

As per a new research, the sounds of urban life may make your belly fatter, cause premature aging and lead to stroke. Researchers calculated how much road traffic, railroad and aircraft noise 5,075 people in Sweden were exposed to since 1999 by looking at official government statistics, the Washington Post reported.

In a paper published in May in journal Occupational & Environmental Medicine, the researchers found that nearly 70 percent had been regularly exposed to noise above 45 decibels, the level of noise of a suburban home. The WHO recommends less than 40 decibels of noise outside bedrooms at night to prevent adverse health effects.

The scientists found that there was no link between overall body mass index (BMI) and the level of noise, but they saw that there was a link between noise and heightened risk of mid-riff bulge. The more sources of noise pollution, the greater it appeared a person’s risk of more belly fat.

Author Goran Pershagen and his colleagues theorized that noise exposure may affect metabolic and cardiovascular functions because of possible sleep disturbances which alter appetite and energy, adding noise could be an important physiological stressor and bump up the body’s production of the hormone cortisol, which are thought to play a role in fat around the middle of the body.

A second paper, published in the European Heart Journal, analyzed data for 8.6 million people living in London between 2003 and 2010 and found that deaths were 4 percent more common among those who lived in areas with daytime road noise of more than 60 decibels than those with less than 55 decibels.

The authors said this could be due to increased blood pressure, sleep problems and stress from the noise. The work raises important questions about the potential health effects of noise in our cities that need further investigation.

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