NIOSHTIC-2 Publications Search

Associations between psychological distress and body mass index among law enforcement officers: the National Health Interview Survey 2004-2010.

Gu-JK; Charles-LE; Burchfiel-CM; Andrew-ME; Ma-C; Bang-KM; Violanti-JM
Saf Health Work 2013 Mar; 4(1):52-62
OBJECTIVES: To investigate the association between psychological distress and obesity among law enforcement officers (LEOs) in the United States. METHODS: Self-reported data on psychological distress based on six key questions were obtained from LEOs who participated in the National Health Interview Survey (2004-2010). We used Prochaska's cut-point of a Kessler 6 score = 5 for moderate/high mental distress in our analysis. Mean levels of body mass index (BMI) were compared across three levels of psychological distress. RESULTS: The average age of LEOs (n = 929) was 39.3 years; 25% were female. Overall, 8.1% of LEOs had moderate or high psychological distress; 37.5% were obese (BMI = 30). Mean BMI increased with increasing psychological distress (no distress, BMI = 27.2 kg/m(2); mild distress, 27.6 kg/m(2); and moderate/high distress, 33.1 kg/m(2); p = 0.016) after adjustment for age, race, income, and education level among female officers only. Physical activity modified the association between psychological distress and BMI but only among male LEOs (interaction p = 0.002). Among male LEOs reporting low physical activity, psychological distress was positively associated with BMI (30.3 kg/m(2) for no distress, 30.7 for mild distress, 31.8 for moderate/high distress; p = 0.179) after adjustment, but not significantly. This association was not significant among males reporting high physical activity. CONCLUSION: Mean BMI significantly increased as psychological distress increased among female LEOs. A longitudinal study design may reveal the directionality of this association as well as the potential role that physical activity might play in this association.
Law-enforcement-workers; Police-officers; Workers; Work-environment; Psychological-stress; Psychology; Weight-factors; Stress; Statistical-analysis; Analytical-processes; Mental-stress; Weight-factors; Physical-fitness; Physical-reactions; Age-groups; Sociological-factors; Education; Physiological-stress; Humans; Men; Women; Body-weight; Author Keywords: Adiposity; Law enforcement officers; Psychological distress
Ja K Gu. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health HELD/BEB, Mailstop L-4050, 1095 Willowdale Rd., Morgantown, WV 26505-2888
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
Email Address
Funding Type
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
Grant-Number-R01-OH-009640; B20130416
Issue of Publication
NIOSH Division
Source Name
Safety and Health at Work
Performing Organization
State University of New York at Buffalo
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division