Journal Article

Physical activity, weight gain and occupational health among call centre employees

Robert W. Boyce, Edward L. Boone, Brian W. Cioci and Albert H. Lee

in Occupational Medicine

Published on behalf of Society of Occupational Medicine

Volume 58, issue 4, pages 238-244
Published in print June 2008 | ISSN: 0962-7480
Published online December 2007 | e-ISSN: 1471-8405 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/occmed/kqm135
Physical activity, weight gain and occupational health among call centre employees

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Background A need exists to address ergonomic, weight gain and obesity risks in sedentary occupations.

Aim To determine relationships between body mass index (BMI), weight gain, ergonomic and exercise variables in sedentary workers.

Methods An anonymous questionnaire was administered regarding body weight, height, weight gained since employment, body part discomfort, shift fatigue, time to achieve job adaptation, physical activity, fitness centre membership, previous employment type and previous injury.

Results Subjects were 393 volunteers (mean age 34 years, 71% female) employed in a call centre. Sixty-eight per cent of participants gained weight averaging 0.9 kg/month for 8 months. Significant findings (P < 0.05) were as follows: non-obese individuals gained less weight than obese individuals, fitness club members had higher BMIs and weight gains than non-members, previously injured individuals gained more weight than non-injured individuals, non-weight gainers reported higher metabolic equivalent-min/week expenditure in relation to vigorous exercise.

Conclusions Participants reported substantial weight gain over a period of 8 months. In contrast to walking and moderate exercise, only vigorous exercise was significantly associated with non-weight gain. Three risk factors were identified for weight gain: obese when hired, history of previous injury and lack of vigorous exercise.

Keywords: BMI; body weight; call centre; discomfort; ergonomics; exercise; fatigue; obesity; occupations; safety; sedentary

Journal Article.  3254 words. 

Subjects: Occupational Medicine

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