Work hours, weight status, and weight-related behaviors: A study of metro transit workers

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Abstract

Background: Associations between hours worked per week and Body Mass Index (BMI), food intake, physical activity, and perceptions of eating healthy at work were examined in a sample of transit workers.Methods: Survey data were collected from 1086 transit workers. Participants reported hours worked per week, food choices, leisure-time physical activity and perceptions of the work environment with regard to healthy eating. Height and weight were measured for each participant. Multivariate linear and logistic regressions were conducted to examine associations between work hours and behavioral variables. Associations were examined in the full sample and stratified by gender.Results: Transit workers working in the highest work hour categories had higher BMI and poorer dietary habits, with results differing by gender. Working 50 or more hours per week was associated with higher BMI among men but not women. Additionally, working 50 or more hours per week was significantly associated with higher frequency of accessing cold beverage, cold food, and snack vending machines among men. Working 40 or more hours per week was associated with higher frequency of accessing cold food vending machines among women. Reported frequency of fruit and vegetable intake was highest among women working 50 or more hours per week. Intake of sweets, sugar sweetened beverages, and fast food did not vary with work hours in men or women. Physical activity and perception of ease of eating healthy at work were not associated with work hours in men or women.Conclusions: Long work hours were associated with more frequent use of garage vending machines and higher BMI in transit workers, with associations found primarily among men. Long work hours may increase dependence upon food availability at the worksite, which highlights the importance of availability of healthy food choices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number91
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity
Volume7
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 20 2010

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