249777 Truck drivers and obesity: The role of the work environment

Wednesday, November 2, 2011: 12:42 PM

Eve M. Nagler, ScD, MPH, CHES , Center for Community Based Research, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA
Background and Objective: Few studies have examined reasons for the high prevalence of obesity among truck drivers and none have examined their motivations for losing weight. This study explored the association between work-related factors and two outcomes - BMI and intention to lose weight - among motor freight workers. We explored how organizational factors related to stress (hours worked and job strain) and how eating in response to work-related stress influenced BMI and intention to lose weight. We also examined how believing it was important to watch one's weight because of work was related to both outcomes. Methods: Cross-sectional data were collected from unionized truck drivers and dockworkers (N=542; response rate =78%) employed in eight trucking terminals as part of a study designed to promote tobacco cessation and weight management. Results: In multivariable analyses, there was no relation between job strain, hours worked and our two outcomes. We found agreeing with the statement, “Because of my work, it is especially important that I watch my weight” was significantly associated with a 1.11 unit higher BMI and a greater odds (OR 2.23; 95% CI = 1.50, 3.31) of intending to lose weight. We also found that believing “I often eat junk food because I am tired and stressed from work” was associated with a 1.22 higher BMI. Conclusions: These results illustrate how the work environment may be associated with truck drivers' BMI and intentions to lose weight and may be used to develop interventions for this group of workers.

Learning Areas:
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Chronic disease management and prevention
Occupational health and safety
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
List factors in the work environment associated with truck drivers’ BMI and intentions to lose weight Discuss how study findings can be used to develop interventions to help truck drivers lose weight

Keywords: Obesity, Workplace Stressors

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a Research Scientist at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute focused on developing and testing interventions to improve the health and safety of workers in India. I obtained my Doctorate of Science from the Harvard School of Public Health where my research addressed cancer disparities among two groups of US blue-collar workers: truck drivers and construction laborers. Prior to getting my doctoral degree, I worked at the American Cancer Society implementing programs for diverse, working populations.
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.