A few years ago we reported on the trend that many new cars aren't designed to accommodate America's seemingly ever-expanding waistline, with even popular models like the Chevrolet Corvette ill-prepared to carry two occupants each with a weight of over 200 pounds.
Alarmingly, it's not just sporty coupes and roadsters that can't handle the increased girth of their grocery-getting governors either. Minivans, SUVs/crossovers, and sedans are all skimping on approved passenger weights. Examples include the previous generation Acura TSX, which seats five people, as long as their average weight doesn't exceed 170 pounds, and the Mazda CX-7, which sports similar specifications.
But could it be the car itself that's causing the obesity epidemic?
According to a new study from researchers at the University of Illinois, America's love of the car has a direct correlation--99 percent in fact--with obesity rates. Researchers looked at annual vehicle miles traveled per licensed driver from the 1985 to 2007 and found that the more we drove, the heavier as a nation we became.
And it's not just America where the trend is occurring. Pretty much anywhere where there is increased car use, obesity rates rise. To prove this researchers looked at India and China where a lot of the population are just starting to adopt car use and they discovered similar trends.
The solution? We're sure you already guessed that one: drive less and walk more. However, with this country's urban sprawl and lack of suitable public transport, the chances of the average American driver leaving their car at home on their next outing are next-to-nil.