Business Travel: Keep Healthy While on the Go

We all know business travel isn’t much fun. But is it also unhealthy?

It certainly can be. Lots of flights. Little exercise. Lots of food and drink. Little sleep. It doesn’t add up to the healthiest lifestyle. In fact, a 2011 Columbia University School of Public Health study found that, “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.”

Among their findings: “Business people who traveled the most (20 or more days a month) have poorer health on a number of measures compared with those who travel between 1 and 6 days a month. For example, extensive travelers:”

  • “Had a mean Body Mass Index (BMI) of 27.5 kg/m2 versus 26.1 for light travelers”
  • “Had a mean HDL level of 53.3 mg/DLversus 56.1 for light travelers”
  • “Had a mean Diastolic pressure of 76.2 mmHG versus 74.6 for light travelers”
  • “Were 260% more likely to rate their health as fair to poor compared to light travelers”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “In 2009, an estimated 6.4 million US residents traveled overseas for business. With the increasingly global economy, this number is expected to increase. Because of the nature of the trip, business travelers may face different health risks than do leisure travelers. Find out about some of the risks of business travel and what you can do to protect yourself.”

The CDC offers tips on travel destinations, packing a health kit, managing jet lag, eating and drinking, and more.