Link between Job Role and Obesity

Last year over 1.9 billion adults globally were overweight; of these, over 600 million were obese. Investigators think that the types of work individuals do can play a role to obesity.

Traditionally, raising an employee’s level of control at work has been regarded positive.

In the Job Demand-Control-Support (JDCS) model of evaluating psychosocial characteristics of the work environment, two psychological measures of job control generally referred to are skill discretion i.e. having and being able to apply skills, and decision authority.

Till now, these two elements have been considered together in terms of their impact on health, because while high job requirements are regarded stressful, high job control is identified to assist mitigate the results of high demands.

However, the new research recommends that skill discretion and decision-making must be regarded separately, especially with reference to obesity.

Higher obesity risk for decision-makers

Investigators from the University of Adelaide, Central Queensland University and the University of South Australia viewed at data from 450 mainly middle-aged individuals – 230 women and 220 men – performing in a variety of various occupations, both blue and white-collar.

They measured individuals’ height, weight and waist circumference and performed telephone interviews to gather details about their work. They applied the JDCS model for their assessment.

After controlling for sex, age, household earnings, work hours and job characteristics, they identified that the two aspects were relatively strongly related with obesity, with amazingly opposite effects.

The outcomes show that having skills and the independence to use them at work is connected to reduced body mass index (BMI) and a smaller waist size, whereas requiring to make a lot of choices is connected to a bigger waist size.

Lead author Christopher Bean describes that while obesity is usually blamed on “eating too much and not moving sufficient,” other aspects, such as ecological, psychological, social or cultural circumstance, are also essential.

How does making decisions lead to obesity?

Traditionally, increased decision-making has been regarded suitable at work. However, in the framework of global competition, staff with high decision power may feel confused by the requirements or by poorly defined choices in the work environment.

Excessive decision-making can turn out to be a burden of responsibility, resulting in enhanced stress and food intake or modifications in the way the body processes food, resulting in excess fat build up.

The authors recommend that the level of pressure caused by enhanced job control may rely on personal characteristics, like as choice for high- or low-decision authority. A high level of control may be advantageous for self-determined people but stressful for non-self-determined people.

Bean says:

“When looking at the extensive system of factors that lead to and maintain obesity, work pressure is just a small part of a really large and tangled network of interactive aspects.

On the other hand, work is a essential part of life for many, so it is essential to find modern ways of increasing our knowing of how aspects at work may be implicated in the development and maintenance of obesity. It is essential to challenge the status quo and discover unanticipated or counter-intuitive results with curiosity.”

The high occurrence of obesity and relevant diseases pose a considerable global challenge. Employment is a essential part of life for many, and possible risk aspects in this environment may be changeable, making the workplace a possible focus for intervention.

Future study may think about the relative efforts of excess energy consumption and insufficient physical activity connected with work pressure, and how excess decision power may be implicated.