The effect of long work hours on physical activity and obesity in the state of Georgia Open Access

Cook, Miranda (2017)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/sf2685977?locale=en
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Abstract

Background: Obesity affects 30.2% of Georgia adults, presenting a large economic and public health burden. Long work hours may be contributing to the rising obesity problem by reducing time for physical activity, particularly for individuals working in sedentary occupations.

Methods:Cross sectional analysis was performed using data from the 2015 Georgia Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System to estimate the relationship between long work hours, leisure-time physical activity (LTPA), and obesity. Prevalence ratios were estimated across work hour and occupational activity groups and mediation analysis was performed to estimate the proportion of the relationship mediated by changes in LTPA associated with long work hours.

Results: Those working in low activity occupations were more likely to meet aerobic guidelines for LTPA compared to those in intermediate and high activity occupations (χ2: 19.3; P-value: <0.01), however, ability to meet recommendations did not differ significantly across work hour categories. The impact of long work hours on obesity varied across occupational activity levels, with employees in intermediate activity occupations working long hours at the greatest risk for obesity. The estimated proportion of the relationship between long work hours and obesity mediated by inability to meet physical activity recommendations was 0.39% and the estimate was non-significant (Sobel test statistic:<0.01; P-value: 0.14).

Conclusion: These findings suggest that the effect of long work hours on obesity cannot be explained by the effects of long work hours on ability to meet aerobic guidelines on LTPA, however, stratified analyses suggest that occupational activity may play an important role in this relationship. Future work examining the role of occupational activity is required to better understand the mechanisms through which long work hours impact obesity risks.

Table of Contents

Chapter I. Background................................................................................... 1

Chapter II. Manuscript.................................................................................. 11

A. Introduction............................................................................................ 12

B. Methods................................................................................................. 14

C. Results................................................................................................... 19

D. Discussion.............................................................................................. 22

E. Tables..................................................................................................... 25

Chapter III. Public Health Implications............................................................. 33

Appendix..................................................................................................... 36

References................................................................................................... 37

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