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Adiposity in policing: mental health consequences.

Violanti JM; Andrew ME; Hartley TA; Fekedulegn D; Charles LE; Burchfiel CM
Int J Emerg Mental Health 2011 Oct; 13(4):257-266
Previous research suggests that adiposity is a health problem among police officers. Stress is also a concern in police work and can lead to depression. Although previous studies have demonstrated an association between obesity and depression, this has not been adequately addressed in the police population. Measures of adiposity (Body Mass Index [BMI], abdominal height, waist circumference) and depressive symptoms (Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression [CES-D] scale) were obtained from a random sample of 115 officers in an urban police department. Ninety nine officers (61 men and 38 women) who had complete data and were not on anti-depressive medication were used. Linear regression analysis was conducted separately for men and women. Covariate adjustments were made for age, alcohol use, smoking, pack-years of smoking, marital status, and physical activity. Statistically significant positive trends were observed in multivariate adjusted mean (+/- SE) depression symptom scores across increasing tertiles of BMI (7.0 +/- 1.3, 5.1 +/- 1.2, 8.8 +/- 1.3, p = 0.012) and abdominal height (6.0 +/- 1.4, 5.5 +/- 1.3, 9.2 +/- 1.4, p = 0.048) for men officers. No significant associations were found between CES-D score and adiposity in women officers (p = 0.075 for BMI, p = 0.317 for abdominal height, p = 0.114 for waist circumference). Additional factors that might influence this association should be examined prospectively in future work to help clarify causal direction.
Weight-factors; Humans; Men; Women; Law-enforcement-workers; Stress; Age-groups; Alcohols; Smoking; Diseases; Body-weight; Police-officers; Emergency-responders; Author Keywords: police; adiposity; obesity; depression; gender differences; Emergency-responders
John M. Violanti, PhD, School of Public Health and Health Professions, Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, State University of New York at Buffalo
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
Email Address
Funding Type
Contract; Grant
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
Grant-Number-R01-OH-009640; Contract-200-2003-01580
Issue of Publication
NIOSH Division
Priority Area
Public Safety
Source Name
International Journal of Emergency Mental Health
Performing Organization
State University of New York at Buffalo
Page last reviewed: March 25, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division