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Development of obese-size crash test dummies reflects growing weight problem

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(NaturalNews) In a move that demonstrates the need to keep up with today's ever-increasing waistlines, the world's leading crash test dummy producer, Humanetics, is developing its first-ever obese crash test dummy set to be available in 2015. Its new model is a 273-pound one, which would have an approximate body mass index (BMI) of 35. The crash test dummies typically seen in commercials and which are more commonly used typically reflect a 170-pound person, but the severe changes in body types over the years led Humanetics to create a model that addresses the increasing obesity statistics.(1)

Humanetics is developing one that not only weighs more but mimics the accuracy of where weight gain typically occurs. As such, their obese crash test dummies are designed to have extra material distributed in the mid-section, butt and thighs.

Obese more likely to die in car crash

"The fact is that if you're obese then you're 78% more likely to be killed in a car crash," said Humanetics CEO Chris O'Connor. Researchers explain that when obese drivers are involved in a car accident, the additional soft tissue in their lower body becomes pushed forward before the seat belt reaches the pelvis. At the same time, their upper body remains restrained, preventing the driver from moving forward and, therefore, increasing the likelihood of injuries that lead to their death.(1,2)

O'Connor also feels that the creation of such crash test dummies is important due to the fact that many of the ones currently used were built decades ago when obesity was not as mainstream as it is today.

The largest dummy General Motors uses, for example, is 233 pounds, of which GM manager of safety Jennie Ecclestone said, "[W]hile that may not seem to encompass everyone, our testing is quite conservative and done in a way that can cover a larger audience than the weight number may suggest." She went on to explain that GM works in accordance with global standards that have been set by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE).(1)

Despite statistics, no requirement for obese crash test dummies

Interestingly, there is no government mandate that requires crash test dummies reflect an obese body type during testing. "Everyone wants to wait until the government says it's mandated," O'Connor said. "How can we not care about the safety of all people? I think we need to be more proactive."(1)

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it's projected that 32 million more Americans will become obese by 2030, pushing the obesity rate to 42 percent -- disturbingly close to nearly half -- of the U.S. population.(3)


(1) http://www.usatoday.com

(2) http://www.cbsnews.com

(3) http://abcnews.go.com

About the author:
Raw Michelle is a natural health blogger and researcher, sharing her passions with others, using the Internet as her medium. She discusses topics in a straight forward way in hopes to help people from all walks of life achieve optimal health and well-being. She has authored and published hundreds of articles on topics such as the raw food diet and green living in general. >>> Click here to see more by Michelle

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