Research: Work Factors & Weight Change

Research Paper Title:

Psychosocial Work Environment Factors and Weight Change: A Prospective Study of Danish Haelth Care Workers.

Background

Lifestyle variables may serve as important intermediate factors between psychosocial work environment and health outcomes. Previous studies, focussing on work stress models have shown mixed and weak results in relation to weight change. This study aimed to investigate psychosocial factors outside the classical work stress models as potential predictors of change in body mass index (BMI) in a population of health care workers.

Methods

A cohort study, with three years follow-up, was conducted among Danish health care workers (3982 women and 152 men). Logistic regression analyses examined change in BMI (more than +/− 2 kg/m2) as predicted by baseline psychosocial work factors (work pace, workload, quality of leadership, influence at work, meaning of work, predictability, commitment, role clarity, and role conflicts) and five covariates (age, cohabitation, physical work demands, type of work position and seniority).

Results

Among women, high role conflicts predicted weight gain, while high role clarity predicted both weight gain and weight loss. Living alone also predicted weight gain among women, while older age decreased the odds of weight gain. High leadership quality predicted weight loss among men. Associations were generally weak, with the exception of quality of leadership, age, and cohabitation.

Conclusion

This study of a single occupational group suggests a few new risk factors for weight change outside the traditional work stress models.

Source: BMC Public Health 2013;13:43.

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