Work, obesity, and occupational safety and health

Am J Public Health. 2007 Mar;97(3):428-36. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2006.086900. Epub 2007 Jan 31.


There is increasing evidence that obesity and overweight may be related, in part, to adverse work conditions. In particular, the risk of obesity may increase in high-demand, low-control work environments, and for those who work long hours. In addition, obesity may modify the risk for vibration-induced injury and certain occupational musculoskeletal disorders. We hypothesized that obesity may also be a co-risk factor for the development of occupational asthma and cardiovascular disease that and it may modify the worker's response to occupational stress, immune response to chemical exposures, and risk of disease from occupational neurotoxins. We developed 5 conceptual models of the interrelationship of work, obesity, and occupational safety and health and highlighted the ethical, legal, and social issues related to fuller consideration of obesity's role in occupational health and safety.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Asthma / etiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Theoretical*
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / etiology
  • Obesity* / complications
  • Obesity* / epidemiology
  • Obesity* / prevention & control
  • Obesity* / psychology
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology
  • Occupational Exposure* / adverse effects
  • Occupational Exposure* / economics
  • Occupational Exposure* / ethics
  • Occupational Exposure* / prevention & control
  • Occupational Health*
  • Prejudice
  • Privacy
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Responsibility
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology
  • Work* / ethics
  • Work* / physiology
  • Work* / psychology
  • Workers' Compensation