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Is Weight Gain Inevitable with Your Travel Job?

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Weight gain is a huge risk for the unorganized person with a travel job. Because of the inconveniences built into this sort of work, good exercise and eating habits are often unscheduled because they appear “inconvenient” to some.

If you travel often for your job, pay attention to this study:

According to researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, road warriors who travel for business two weeks or more a month have higher body mass index, higher rates of obesity and poorer self-rated health than those who travel less often.

The study, conducted by Andrew G. Rundle, DrPH and Catherine A. Richards, MPH, drew data from medical records of more than 13,000 employees in a corporate wellness program provided by EHE International. Nearly 80 percent of employees traveled at least one night a month and 1 percent traveled more than 20 nights a month. Findings are online in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

"Consistently we found that health outcomes were worse for those not traveling and those traveling the most," said Richards, doctoral candidate in the Mailman School Department of Epidemiology and first author. "And while the differences in clinical values for diastolic blood pressure and HDL were small, the results for self rated health are of concern because this simple measure is a very robust predictor of mortality. Similarly, the associations between business travel and obesity are noteworthy because of the many negative health consequences of this condition."

The authors noted that 81 percent of business travel is done in personal automobiles, which is associated with long hours of sitting and a high probability of poor food choices.

While research to date has associated business travel with infectious disease health risks, this is the one of the first studies to report the effects of business travel on health risks associated with cardiovascular disease.

So, weary traveler, here are some tips to keep you healthy:

1. Avoid weight gain by packing more than just your clothes. Some of you travel as much as 200 days a year.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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