Back to Annual Meeting
Back to Annual Meeting
APHA Scientific Session and Event Listing

[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

Global estimates of work-related low back pain from the WHO World Health Survey

SangWoo Tak, ScD1, Manuel Cifuentes1, Grace Sembajwe1, Rebecca Gore, PhD1, David Kriebel, ScD2, and Laura Punnett1. (1) Department of Work Environment, University of Massachusetts Lowell, One University Ave., Lowell, MA 01854, 978-934-3269, swtak@hotmail.com, (2) Work Environment, University of Massachusetts Lowell, One University Ave, Kitson 200, Lowell, MA 01854

The World Health Survey (2002-03) was administered mostly in developing nations. A question on low back pain (LBP) in the past 30 days was used in 66 countries. We examined the association between occupational category and LBP prevalence among household primary respondents employed and ≥18 years old. The goal was to examine international variability in occupational risks and improve on current estimates of the global burden of work-related disease. Countries were categorized into 4 regions reflecting mortality and level of economic development (“A”=developed; “B”=developing, low mortality; “D”= developing, high mortality, non-African; “E”= African countries). All analyses were weighted to account for complex sampling. Associations between LBP and occupation were computed with professionals/managers as referents, adjusting for age, gender, body mass index, and smoking, using multivariable weighted generalized linear mixed models (Proc Glimmix in SAS 9.1) with robust variances. The total weighted prevalence of low back pain was 38% and somewhat higher in the wealthier countries (42% vs 35%). Across regions, LBP prevalence was higher in women (43%) than men (32%) and increased substantially with age; the increase associated with obesity was consistently modest. By occupation, the lowest prevalence was in the military (26%) and the highest in “elementary” (unskilled) laborers (41%). Associations with gender and smoking varied by region and occupation. Separately by region and gender, highest prevalences were in agriculture/fishing (men and women) and homemakers (women). Multilevel analyses are being conducted to examine global socioeconomic trends.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Epidemiology, Risk Assessment

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No

[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

Global Perspectives in Occupational Health and Safety

The 134th Annual Meeting & Exposition (November 4-8, 2006) of APHA