Prevalence of the Metabolic Syndrome Among U.S. Workers


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Abstract

OBJECTIVEDifferences in the prevalence of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and its risk factors among occupational groups have been found in several studies. Certain types of workers (such as shift workers) may have a greater risk for metabolic syndrome, a precursor of CVD. The objective of this study was to assess the differences in prevalence and risk of metabolic syndrome among occupational groups using nationally representative data of U.S. workers.RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODSData from 8,457 employed participants (representing 131 million U.S. adults) of the 1999–2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey were used. Unadjusted and age-adjusted prevalence and simple and multiple logistic regression analyses were conducted, adjusting for several potential confounders (BMI, alcohol drinking, smoking, physical activity, and sociodemographic characteristics) and survey design.RESULTSOf the workers, 20% met the criteria for the metabolic syndrome, with “miscellaneous food preparation and food service workers” and “farm operators, managers, and supervisors” having the greatest age-adjusted prevalence (29.6–31.1%) and “writers, artists, entertainers, and athletes,” and “engineers, architects, scientists” the lowest (8.5–9.2%). In logistic regression analyses “transportation/material moving” workers had significantly greater odds of meeting the criteria for metabolic syndrome relative to “executive, administrative, managerial” professionals (odds ratio 1.70 [95% CI 1.49–2.52]).CONCLUSIONSThere is variability in the prevalence of metabolic syndrome by occupational status, with “transportation/material moving” workers at greatest risk for metabolic syndrome. Workplace health promotion programs addressing risk factors for metabolic syndrome that target workers in occupations with the greatest odds may be an efficient way to reach at-risk populations.

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