Metabolic status is not associated with job stress in individuals with obesity: the ELSA-Brasil baseline

Int Arch Occup Environ Health. 2021 May;94(4):639-646. doi: 10.1007/s00420-020-01613-7. Epub 2020 Nov 27.


Purpose: Job stress has proven to be a relevant cause of stress for adults, but its effect on the development of metabolic alterations in individuals with obesity is still poorly explored. We aimed to investigate the association between job stress and metabolically unhealthy obesity (MUO) phenotype in participants with obesity at the Brazilian Longitudinal Study of Adult Health (ELSA-Brasil) baseline assessment.

Methods: This study analyzed data collected at the baseline examination between 2008 and 2010. A total of 2371 individuals with obesity were included. Two metabolic phenotypes were characterized based on the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey criteria. The job stress scale was based on the Brazilian version of the Swedish Demand-Control-Support Questionnaire. The association between job stress domains and MUO phenotype was assessed by binary logistic models.

Results: In our sample, 1297 (54.7%) participants were women, mean age was 49.6 ± 7.1 years and 1696 (71.5%) had MUO. Low skill discretion was associated with MUO after adjustment for age, sex and race. However, in fully-adjusted models, the MUO phenotype was not associated with high job demand (odds ratio [OR] = 1.05; 95% confidence interval [95%CI] 0.82-1.35), low skill discretion (OR = 1.26; 95%CI 0.95-1.68), low decision authority (OR = 0.94; 95%CI 0.70-1.25) nor low social support (OR = 0.93; 95%CI 0.71-1.20).

Conclusion: We found a significant association between low skill discretion and an adverse metabolic profile in models adjusted for age, sex and race. No associations were significant between job stress domains and the metabolic profile of individuals with obesity in full models.

Keywords: Cross-sectional; Epidemiology; Job stress; Metabolic abnormalities; Metabolically unhealthy obesity.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Brazil / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Obesity / psychology*
  • Occupational Stress / epidemiology*
  • Occupational Stress / psychology*
  • Professional Autonomy
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Support
  • Workplace