Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 2017;43(6):587-594  Price: EUR 15.00 Add to Cart


Changes in working conditions and major weight gain among normal- and overweight midlife employees

by Niskanen R, Holstila A, Rahkonen O, Lallukka T

Objectives We aimed to examine the association between changes in psychosocial working conditions and major weight gain among midlife women and men. Furthermore, we examined the associations separately among normal- and overweight participants.

Methods We used survey data among employees of the City of Helsinki, Finland, from 2000–2002 (phase 1, N=8960), 2007 (phase 2, N=7332), and 2012 (phase 3, N=6814), with a final study sample of 4369 participants. We examined changes in job strain, job demands, and job control from phase 1 to 2. We defined major weight gain as ≥10% weight gain between phases 1 and 3 based on self-reported weight (kg). We performed logistic regression analysis adjusting for baseline age, marital status, and occupational class, stratifying by gender and by baseline body mass index.

Results Job demands among both genders and job strain among women was associated with major weight gain. Furthermore, increased job demands [odds ratio (OR) 1.52, 95% CI 1.05–2.20] or increased job strain (OR 1.53, 95% CI 1.11–2.11) was associated with major weight gain among overweight women. Normal-weight men reporting decreased job demands (OR 4.11, 95% CI 1.48–11.40) and overweight men reporting increasing job demands (OR 2.93, 95% CI 1.26–6.82) exhibited higher odds of major weight gain.

Conclusions Associations between working conditions and weight gain appeared primarily weak. Our study suggests that overweight individuals might be at a higher risk of weight gain when facing psychosocial strain in the workplace.

This article refers to the following texts of the Journal: 2015;41(6):511-518  2013;39(3):241-258  2008;34(4):288-296