Job strain in relation to body mass index: Pooled analysis of 160000 adults from 13 cohort studies
de Bacquer, D.
Background. Evidence of an association between job strain and obesity is inconsistent, mostly limited to small-scale studies, and does not distinguish between categories of underweight or obesity subclasses. Objectives. To examine the association between job strain and body mass index (BMI) in a large adult population. Methods. We performed a pooled cross-sectional analysis based on individual-level data from 13 European studies resulting in a total of 161746 participants (49% men, mean age, 43.7years). Longitudinal analysis with a median follow-up of 4years was possible for four cohort studies (n=42222). Results. A total of 86429 participants were of normal weight (BMI 18.5-24.9kgm-2), 2149 were underweight (BMI<18.5kgm-2), 56572 overweight (BMI 25.0-29.9kgm-2) and 13523 class I (BMI 30-34.9kgm-2) and 3073 classes II/III (BMI≥ 35kgm-2) obese. In addition, 27010 (17%) participants reported job strain. In cross-sectional analyses, we found increased odds of job strain amongst underweight [odds ratio 1.12, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.00-1.25], obese class I (odds ratio 1.07, 95% CI 1.02-1.12) and obese classes II/III participants (odds ratio 1.14, 95% CI 1.01-1.28) as compared with participants of normal weight. In longitudinal analysis, both weight gain and weight loss were related to the onset of job strain during follow-up. Conclusions. In an analysis of European data, we found both weight gain and weight loss to be associated with the onset of job strain, consistent with a 'U'-shaped cross-sectional association between job strain and BMI. These associations were relatively modest; therefore, it is unlikely that intervention to reduce job strain would be effective in combating obesity at a population level. © 2011 The Association for the Publication of the Journal of Internal Medicine.
To reference this document use:
WH - Work & Health
BSS - Behavioural and Societal Sciences
Healthy for Life
Body mass index
Journal of Internal Medicine, 272 (1), 65-73