CDC logoSafer Healthier People CDC HomeCDC SearchCDC Health Topics A-Z
NIOSH - National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

Skip navigation links Search NIOSH  |  NIOSH Home  |  NIOSH Topics  |  Site Index  |  Databases and Information Resources  |  NIOSH Products  |  Contact Us

NIOSH Program Portfolio



NORA Construction Sector Strategic Goals

927ZAZS - Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis: Occupational Analysis

Start Date: 10/1/2007
End Date: 9/30/2009

Principal Investigator (PI)
Name: Sherry Baron
Phone: 513-458-7159
Organization: NIOSH
Sub-Unit: DSHEFS
Funded By: NIOSH

Primary Goal Addressed

Secondary Goal Addressed

Attributed to Construction

Project Description

Short Summary

CVD and COPD are among the leading causes of death in the US. There is increasing evidence linking occupational exposure to CVD and COPD. These diseases have also been targeted by the Department of Health and Human Services as priorities for identifying and eliminating racial/ethnic health disparities. This is a secondary data analysis of the Multiethnic Study of Arthrosclerosis to examine the association between work-related risk factors on subclinical CVD and COPD in a racially diverse, population based sample. Surveillance data for subclinical CVD, risk factors for CVD, COPD, and occupational exposures by census industrial and occupational codes will be generated. The findings would highlight the need for innovative workplace based intervention programs that decrease work-related risk factors for CVD and COPD. This could be one approach to reduce health disparities.


This is a secondary data analysis of the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA), a NIH funded longitudinal, population-based epidemiologic study of subclinical measures of CVD that also includes various pulmonary outcomes. The project goal is to identify the extent to which occupational exposure contributes to cardiovascular disease (CVD) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in a racially diverse, population-based sample, with emphasis on health disparities secondary to racial/ethnic characteristics.

MESA collected not only industry and occupation but also detailed information on psychosocial job characteristics and exposures to gases, fumes, and dusts. MESA oversampled racial/ethnic minority groups (i.e., 28% African American, 23% Hispanic, and 11% Chinese American). Subclinical CVD outcomes were measured as coronary artery calcium, carotid intimal-medial thickness, and ankle-brachial index. The following occupational exposures will be tested for their association with these outcomes: job strain (i.e., high job demands combined with low job control), discrimination in the workplace, job insecurity, work hours, and physical job demands. In addition, the impacts of socioeconomic position and membership of a racial/ethnic minority group will be examined. Physiological (i.e., hypertension), behavioral (i.e., smoking, alcohol behavior, physical activity, sleep quality), and emotional (i.e., anger, anxiety, depression) risk factors for CVD. Surveillance data showing relative risks for subclinical CVD, risk factors of CVD, and occupational exposures by census industrial and occupational codes will also be generated. Pulmonary Outcomes: Main outcome variables are the highest value of forced expiratory volume in the first second (FEV1), forced vital capacity (FVC), and FEV1/FVC ratio. Self-reported exposure to vapor, gases, dust, and fumes (exposed vs. not exposed) and the duration and severity of the exposure will be the main predictor variables. Non-occupational covariates (i.e., BMI, smoking status, age, gender, atopy) will be controlled for. In addition, socioeconomic position and membership of a racial/ethnic minority will be examined as potential predictors. To obtain the fraction of COPD cases associated with an industry or occupational group or an exposure, population attributable fraction will be calculated. The findings from this study would highlight the need for innovative workplace-based intervention programs that decrease work related risk factors for CVD and COPD. This could be one approach to the reduce health disparities.

During year one of the study, open text data on industry and occupation for each study participant was obtained from the study clinical sites and was coded for industry and occupation. Initial analysis and data cleaning was completed and a meeting with the research collaborators was held to create a detailed data analysis plan.


Evaluation of the protect outputs is planned by tracking several items including:

1) The project will be taking the coding I and O data and creating fields to be including in the MESA public use dataset. We will also be writing a white paper on how the occupational variables should be analyzed. Once this is complete we will track utilization by outside investigators of these occupational variables.

2) Once articles are published we will track their use in other peer reviewed articles

3) We will track how often the chartbook entries using MESA data are accessed on the NIOSH web page.

Page last updated:April 24, 2013
Page last reviewed:May 23, 2011
Content Source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Office of the Director


NIOSH Program:


construction worker, crane, architect