A new study confirms what many corporate road warriors already know: frequent business travel takes a toll on one's health. Catherine A. Richards, a doctoral student in epidemiology at Columbia University, and her colleagues analysed medical records and travel data on 13,057 patients provided by a company that performs physical exams for corporations.

Adults who spent 20 or more nights away from home each month were 2.5 times as likely to rate their health as poor or fair, compared with travellers away from home just one to six nights a month, according to the analysis, which was published in April in The Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. The most frequent travellers were also twice as likely to be obese as those who went out of town infrequently, the researchers found.

People who did not travel at all rated themselves as less healthy than light travellers, and they were 33 percent more likely to be obese. But their poor health was probably the reason they didn't travel, said the study's authors.

Richards said she hoped the analysis would encourage companies to take steps toward making exercise facilities and healthy food more widely available to business travellers.