Aims: The purpose of this study was to (i) describe the weight, weight-related perceptions and lifestyle behaviours of hospital-based nurses, and (ii) explore the relationship of demographic, health, weight and job characteristics with lifestyle behaviours.
Background: The obesity epidemic is widely documented. Worksite initiatives have been advocated. Nurses represent an important part of the hospital workforce and serve as role models when caring for patients.
Methods: A sample of 194 nurses from six hospitals participated in anthropometric measurements and self-administered surveys.
Results: The majority of nurses were overweight and obese, and some were not actively involved in weight management behaviours. Self-reported health, diet and physical activity behaviours were low, although variable by gender, age and shift. Reports of co-worker norms supported low levels of healthy behaviours.
Conclusions: Findings reinforce the need to address the hospital environment and culture as well as individual behaviours for obesity control.
Implications for nursing management: Nurse managers have an opportunity to consider interventions that promote a climate favourable to improved health habits by facilitating and supporting healthy lifestyle choices (nutrition and physical activity) and environmental changes. Such efforts have the potential to increase productivity and morale and decrease work-related disabilities and improve quality of life.