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Do you live next to a busy road, train track or even under a flight path? If so, it could have an effect on the size on your waistline. A new study has shown facts about the effects of noise pollution on obesity.

Researchers believe that main roads, which often have increased noise pollution from traffic, could have an effect on peoples' sleeping patterns. Lack of sleep causes reduced energy levels, which can then lead to a more sedentary lifestyle and make people less willing to exercise.

The research, published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), found those who live under a flight path or near an airport were most likely to suffer from weight problems as a result of noise pollution. The study also found that for every five-decibel increase above the standard traffic noise level, the average person gains an extra 0.2cm on their waist measurement.

Andrei Pyko, lead author of the study at Sweden's Karolinska Institutet, said: "Increasing evidence points to traffic noise as a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension, myocardial infarction and stroke. Recent findings suggest that traffic noise may also affect the metabolic system, for example, inducing central obesity and type 2 diabetes."

According to the study of 5,075 men and women in Sweden, central obesity is associated with exposure to railway and aircraft noise. Participants in areas with lower noise levels were more likely to have lived 10 years or more at the same address. Those exposed to higher noise levels were more likely to be single and report current smoking, psychological distress and noise annoyance.

Dr Pyko said: "Sleep disturbances may affect immune functions, influence the central control of appetite and energy expenditure as well as increase circulating levels of the stress."


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