Business travel – bad for your health?

According to a new study, the more a person travels for business purposes, the bigger the impact on their health.
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According to a new study, the more a person travels for business purposes, the bigger the impact on their health.

The study, conducted by researchers from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and City University of New York, US, found that workers who travel 21 days out of the month or more are 92-per-cent more likely to become obese than those who travel between one and six days per month. Frequent business travellers also tend to suffer from higher blood pressure and lower levels of high density lipoprotein than less frequent travellers.

“We found a strong correlation between the frequency of business travel and a wide range of physical and behavioural health risks,” Andrew Rundle, one of the researchers and Associate Professor of Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public health, wrote in Harvard Business Review. “Compared to those who spent one to six nights a month away from home for business travel, those who spent 14 or more nights away from home per month had significantly higher body mass index scores and were significantly more likely to report the following: poor self-rated health, clinical symptoms of anxiety, depression and alcohol dependence, no physical activity or exercise, smoking, and trouble sleeping.”

Fortunately, only 12 per cent of the business travellers who took part in the study travel more than 14 days out of the month. However, Rundle cited a separate study of health insurance claims among World Bank Staff, which found that travelling staff made significantly more claims for health issues than those who do not travel, suggesting that the issue is widespread.

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