As employers become more involved in workplace wellness, studies show that employees in certain professions present a more serious challenge because they are more prone to obesity.
According to a Washington State Department of Labor and Industries study published in the January edition of Preventing Chronic Disease, about one-fourth of all workers are obese by definition, carrying a body mass index (BMI) of 30.0 or higher.
Not surprisingly, workers who get adequate amounts of physical activity and eat recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables are significantly less likely to become obese. Here are the top 10 professions with the highest percentages of obese employees in the study:
- Truck drivers (38.6%)
- Transportation and material moving (37.9%)
- Protective services such as police, firefighters and emergency responders (33.3%)
- Cleaning and building services (29.5%)
- Mechanics and repairers (28.9%)
- Health services – excluding doctors and nurses (28.8%)
- Administrative support, including clerical (27.9%)
- Personal services (27.2%)
- Technicians and related support (26.6%)
- Precision production and plant operators (26.1%)
BMI numbers consider the person’s weight and height. They do not account for people who may be muscular and have a leaner body mass.
The study showed that most truck drivers’ lifestyles contribute to their overall health issues. For example, about one-third of truck drivers smoke and fall short of the average for getting enough physical exercise, and most do not eat well.
The study’s authors concluded: “Employers, policy makers and health promotion practitioners can use our results to target and prioritize workplace obesity prevention and health behavior promotion programs.
For information regarding strategies to fight obesity in the workforce, please call Chad Clippard, business liaison, at 573-331-3019.