Do Passive Jobs Contribute to Low Levels of Leisure-Time Physical Activity? The Whitehall II Cohort Study

International Institute for Society and Health, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, 1-19 Torrington Place, London WC1E 6BT, UK.
Occupational and environmental medicine (Impact Factor: 3.27). 07/2009; 66(11):772-6. DOI: 10.1136/oem.2008.045104
Source: PubMed


There is mixed evidence on the association between psychosocial work exposures (ie, passive jobs) and physical activity, but previous studies did not take into account the effect of cumulative exposures nor did they examine different trajectories in exposure. We investigated whether exposure to passive jobs, measured three times over an average of 5 years, is associated with leisure-time physical activity (LTPA).
Data were from working men (n = 4291) and women (n = 1794) aged 35-55 years who participated in the first three phases of the Whitehall II prospective cohort. Exposure to passive jobs was measured at each phase and LTPA at phases 1 and 3. Participants were categorised according to whether or not they worked in a passive job at each phase, leading to a scale ranging from 0 (non-passive job at all three phases) to 3 (passive job at all three phases). Poisson regression with robust variance estimates were used to assess the prevalence ratios of low LTPA.
An association was found in men between exposure to passive jobs over 5 years and low LTPA at follow-up, independently of other relevant risk factors. The prevalence ratio for low LTPA in men was 1.16 (95% CI 1.01 to 1.33) times greater for employees with three reports of passive job than for those who had never worked in passive jobs. No association was observed in women.
This study provides evidence that working in passive jobs may encourage a passive lifestyle in men.

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Available from: Roberto De Vogli, Aug 06, 2014
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    • "Studies have addressed the relationship between work environment and health behaviours, including physical activity, weight change and smoking behaviour (Albertsen et al., 2004; Allard et al., 2011; Brisson et al., 2000; Kivimaki et al., 2006a; Kouvonen et al., 2005a,b; Lallukka et al., 2008). It has been suggested that health related behaviours, such as drinking, smoking and physical activity mediates the relationship between work environment and health outcomes (Albertsen et al., 2006; Brunner et al., 2007; Gimeno et al., 2009; Kivimaki et al., 2006b). Previous research, however, has focused on investigating the effect of work environment at the individual level. "
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    ABSTRACT: Objective Previous research has indicated that health behaviours tend to cluster in social networks, but few have studied the cluster effect in workgroups. We examined the effect of workgroups on current state and change in three indicators of health behaviours (smoking, body mass index (BMI) and physical activity). Further, we examined whether health behaviours of the respondents at group level predicted lifestyle changes. Methods In a prospective cohort (n = 4730), employees from 250 workgroups in the Danish eldercare sector answered questionnaires at baseline (2005) and follow-up (2006). Multilevel regression models were used to examine the effect of workgroups. Results Workgroups accounted for 6.49% of the variation in smoking status, 6.56% of amount smoked and 2.62% of the variation in current BMI. We found no significant workgroup clustering in physical activity or lifestyle changes. Furthermore, changes in smoking status (cessation) and weight gain were seen in workgroups with high percentage of smokers and high levels of BMI. Conclusion We found modest evidence for clustering of some health behaviours within workgroups, which could be due to social learning or selection into and out of workgroups. Future health promotion programs at worksites should recognize the potential clustering of lifestyle behaviours within workgroups.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2014 · Preventive Medicine
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    • "As regards the association between stress in the work environment and “physical activity in sports/physical exercise in leisure time”, our findings are in agreement with those of other cross-sectional studies in the literature. Also, longitudinal studies have shown that job stress does tend to reduce or halt the practice of physical activity [49,53]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Physical fitness is one of the most important qualities in armed forces personnel. However, little is known about the association between the military environment and the occupational and leisure-time dimensions of the physical activity practiced there. This study assessed the association of rank, job stress and psychological distress with physical activity levels (overall and by dimensions). This a cross-sectional study among 506 military service personnel of the Brazilian Army examined the association of rank, job stress and psychological distress with physical activity through multiple linear regression using a generalized linear model. The adjusted models showed that the rank of lieutenant was associated with most occupational physical activity (beta = 0.324; CI95% 0.167; 0.481); "high effort and low reward" was associated with more occupational physical activity (beta = 0.224; CI95% 0.098; 0.351) and with less physical activity in sports / physical exercise in leisure (beta = -0.198; CI95% -0.384; -0.011); and psychological distress was associated with less physical activity in sports / exercise in leisure (beta = -0.184; CI95% -0.321; -0.046). The results of this study show that job stress and rank were associated with higher levels of occupational physical activity. Moreover job stress and psychological distress were associated with lower levels of physical activity in sports/exercises. In the military context, given the importance of physical activity and the psychosocial environment, both of which are related to health, these findings may offer input to institutional policies directed to identifying psychological distress early and improving work relationships, and to creating an environment more favorable to increasing the practice of leisure-time physical activity.
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    • "Health Behaviors and Occupational Stress 5 [ Gimeno et al., 2009 ] "
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Occupational stress and unhealthy lifestyles are common characteristics of urban workers. The association between health behaviors and job stress of urban Brazilian civil servants was studied. METHODS: A cross-sectional study included 893 workers. Health markers, the dependent variables, were: Fruit/vegetable (FV) and alcohol (A) intake, physical activity (PA), including at work (PAW), smoking (S), BMI ≥ 25 Kg/m(2) . Occupational stress, assessed by Job Stress Scale-Brazilian version, classified employees into: High-strain, Low-strain, Active, and Passive. Prevalence rates and multivariate Poisson models were adopted. RESULTS: On average, employees (mean age = 40.2 years; 69.1% female) reported healthy lifestyle factors: FV (56%); PA (59.7%); S (13.3%); however, 49.4% were overweight. Compared to low-strain, high-strain workers reported higher PAW; passive workers lesser PA and higher PAW. After adjusting for socio-demographics and work characteristics, the occupational stress dimensions were no longer associated to health behaviors. CONCLUSIONS: Our results do not support the hypothesis of an effect for occupational stress on urban employees' health behaviors. Am. J. Ind. Med. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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