Psychosocial Factors at Work and Obesity Among Young Finnish Adults: A Cohort Study

J Occup Environ Med. 2015 May;57(5):485-92. doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000000432.


Objective: To examine the associations between occupational psychosocial factors and obesity among 31-year-olds, adjusting for adolescent body mass index, physical strenuousness of work, and adverse health behaviors (ie, stress-related eating/drinking, leisure-time physical inactivity, smoking, and high alcohol consumption).

Methods: The study population comprised 2083 men and 1770 women from the Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966. Obesity was defined as a body mass index of 30.0 kg/m or more. Psychosocial exposures were defined in terms of demands, control, and social support at work.

Results: Among men, high job demands and low worksite social support were independently associated with obesity. Among women, stress-related eating/drinking and physical inactivity seemed to promote obesity. Body mass index at age 14 was an important predictor of obesity for both sexes.

Conclusions: In workplace obesity prevention programs, it might be beneficial to improve the psychosocial work environment and promote healthy behaviors simultaneously.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Motor Activity
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Obesity / psychology*
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology
  • Occupational Diseases / psychology*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Support
  • Stress, Psychological / complications*
  • Stress, Psychological / epidemiology