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Researchers have concluded that obese people have similar careers…or at least people in Washington state, where the study took place.
Medical experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed 37,626 employees during the odd numbered years between 2003 and 2009. “Obesity prevalence” was determined by demographics, occupational physical activity level, smoking, fruit and vegetable consumption, and leisure-time physical activity. The purpose of this study, according to the abstract, is to “estimate the prevalence of and risk factors for worker obesity by occupation" and inform the "prioritization of workplace wellness programs.”
Among the 28 occupational groups (which excluded military or extraction occupations, such as construction), they found that truck driving, as well as transportation and material moving, protective services, and cleaning and building services employees were at highest risk for suffering from obesity.
There were some hiccups in the study. For one, “BMI measures cannot distinguish between fat and lean tissue mass; workers with physically demanding jobs (i.e. movers) may be more physically fit and have a higher BMI because of increased muscle mass," the researchers admitted in the study, as reported by the Huffington Post.
A few more notable study findings:
- The overall prevalence of obesity for all workers was 24.6 percent, ranging from 11.6 percent for health diagnosing occupations (i.e. physicians, dentists, veterinarians, optometrists, and health diagnosing practitioners) to 38.6 percent for truck drivers.
- Employed smokers had lower obesity prevalence than employed nonsmokers. And the proportion of current smokers was highest for truck drivers and lowest for health occupations…excluding registered nurses.
Does this mean you’re doomed to deal with pound problems because of your career? Absolutely not. This data simply illustrates a correlation between work and weight, and its purpose is to encourage workplace health intervention programs in order to improve worker productivity while lowering absenteeism and health care costs.
Being proactive about your health and wellness…well, that’s your “real” job.
The ranking of obesity prevalence, from most to least, based on occupational group, is as follows:
1. Truck drivers - 38.6 percent
2. Transportation and material moving - 37.9 percent
3. Protective services - 33.3 percent
4. Cleaning and building services - 29.5 percent
5. Health services - 28.8 percent
6. Mechanics and repairers - 28.9 percent
7. Administrative support - 27.9 percent
8. Personal services - 27.2 percent
9. Technicians (plus related support) - 26.6 percent
10. Precision production and plant operators - 26.1 percent
11. Sales 25.4 percent
12. Management-related - 25.1 percent
13. Executive, administrative and managerial - 24.4 percent
14. Machine operators, assemblers and inspectors - 23.9 percent
15. Registered nurses - 22.6 percent
16. Farming, forestry and fishing - 22.3 percent
17. Teachers (not including postsecondary education) - 21.8 percent
18. Helpers, equipment cleaners and laborers - 21.9 percent
19. Math and computer scientists - 21.8 percent
20. Lawyers and judges - 21.7 percent
21. Engineers, architects and surveyors - 20.2 percent
22. Food preparation and service - 20.1 percent
23. Construction - 19.9 percent
24. Other professional specialties - 19.7 percent
25. Health assessment and treating (not including registered nurses) - 18.2 percent
26. Postsecondary teachers -17.6 percent
27. Natural and social scientists - 17.3 percent
28. Health-diagnosing occupations - 11.6 percent