228094 Does obesity contribute to non-fatal occupational injury among male workers? Evidence from NLSY79

Wednesday, November 10, 2010 : 1:30 PM - 1:50 PM

Tin-chi Lin , Office of Population Research, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ
Background: Recent literature suggests that obesity may be a risk factor for injury at the work place. However, most of the previous studies seemed to suffer from a variety of methodological and measurement issues and failed to prove the linkage between the two.

Data and Methods: To address these issues, first we utilize the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 (NLSY1979), a nationally representative cohort born 1957-1965. Second, to better characterize workplace dangers, we draw on the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT), as well as variables from the NLSY79 main data such as wage and the hours worked. Last but not least, to properly account for unobserved differences, we utilize random- and fixed-effects model to estimate the effect of obesity (in one-year lagged value) on the occurrence of injury.

Results: The odds of sustaining injury at work are significantly higher among overweight/obese workers than workers of normal weight. The fixed effects model show that the odds are 52% (p<0.01), 68% (p<0.01) and 145% ((p<0.001) higher among male workers with BMI between 27.5 and 30, 30 and 35, and over 35, respectively; the results from the random-effects model are similar but the magnitudes are less stronger.

Conclusions: Our results show that overweight/obesity does predispose male workers with a substantially increased risk of injury at the workplace as unobserved differences are appropriately controlled. However, in designing prevention policy, further studies are needed to evaluate the feasibility of providing weight reduction programs at the workplace.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe how methodological/data issues in the previous studies may have compromised the results regarding the relationship between obesity and occupational injury. 2. Explain why the design of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 (NLSY79) and the statistical methods we employed may solve part of these issues. 3. Compare the results from the standard regression and the multilevel model, and explain why the results of the conventional regression may not be correct. 4. Discuss possible applications/extensions of the current design to other realms of injury research and its limitations.

Keywords: Occupational Injury and Death, Obesity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: My presentation addresses how advanced statistical models may help reveal the contribution of obesity to non-fatal occupational injury that cannot be seen using conventional methods that the current research community employ. U am a graduate student in the Office of Population Research at Princeton University. My research focuses on the application of statistical methods in behavioral sciences. I have published a paper in a premier demographic journal and served as an occasional reviewer as well.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.