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Study: More Business Trips May Lead to Increased Health Risks

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- People who travel often for business are at higher risk for various health problems such as obesity and high cholesterol, according to researchers at the Columbia University.

Researchers analyzed the health data of more than 13,000 employees participating in a corporate wellness program.  Eighty percent of these employees traveled at least one night per month, while nearly one percent of the group were extensive travelers, spending up to 20 nights each month on business trips.

They found that heavy travelers experienced an increase in rates of "less-than-good" health along with the increase of nights on the road.  Furthermore, extensive travelers were 92 percent more likely to develop obesity compared to non-travelers' 33 percent likelihood for the disease.

The study's authors attribute the health risks linked to extensive travel to poor sleep, fattening foods and long periods of inactivity, among other factors.  They suggest that companies that require employees to travel should also offer stress management classes, choose accommodations with fitness facilities and encourage healthier food choices with meal reimbursements.

The study is published in the April issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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