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Obesity prevalence by occupation in Washington State, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.

Bonauto DK; Lu D; Fan ZJ
Prev Chronic Dis 2014 Jan; 11:130219
Introduction: Data that estimate the prevalence of and risk factors for worker obesity by occupation are generally unavailable and could inform the prioritization of workplace wellness programs. The aims of this study were to estimate the prevalence of obesity by occupation, examine the association of occupational physical activity and a range of health behaviors with obesity, and identify occupations in which workers are at high risk of obesity in Washington State. Methods: We conducted descriptive and multivariable analyses among 37,626 employed Washington State respondents using the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System in odd numbered years, from 2003 through 2009. We estimated prevalence and prevalence ratios (PRs) by occupational groups adjusting for demographics, occupational physical activity level, smoking, fruit and vegetable consumption, and leisure-time physical activity (LPTA). Results: Overall obesity prevalence was 24.6% (95% confidence interval [CI], 24.0-25.1). Workers in protective services were 2.46 (95% CI, 1.72-3.50) times as likely to be obese as workers in health diagnosing occupations. Compared with their counterparts, workers who consumed adequate amounts of fruits and vegetables and had adequate LTPA were significantly less likely to be obese (PR = 0.91; 95% CI, 0.86-0.97 and PR = 0.63; 95% CI, 0.60-0.67, respectively). Workers with physically demanding occupational physical activity had a lower PR of obesity (PR = 0.83; 95% CI, 0.78-0.88) than those with nonphysically demanding occupational physical activity. Conclusion: Obesity prevalence and health risk behaviors vary substantially by occupation. Employers, policy makers, and health promotion practitioners can use our results to target and prioritize workplace obesity prevention and health behavior promotion programs.
Weight-factors; Surveillance-programs; Worker-health; Workers; Epidemiology; Statistical-analysis; Demographic-characteristics; Humans; Men; Women; Smoking
David K. Bonauto, MD, Safety and Health Assessment and Research for Prevention Program, Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, PO BOX 44330, Olympia, WA 98504
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
Email Address
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-OH-008487; M022014
Source Name
Preventing Chronic Disease
Performing Organization
Washington State Department of Labor and Industries
Page last reviewed: September 24, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division