The effect of work environments on blood pressure: evidence from seven New York organizations

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The prevalence of hypertension defined according to National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey II (NHANES II) criteria (140/90 mmHg and/or taking antihypertensive medication) was analyzed cross-sectionally at seven worksites in New York City (n=4274; 2616 men and 1648 women), in order to assess whether exposure to different work environments and occupations contributes to blood pressure variation. The prevalence of hypertension across worksites was 26% among men and 12% among women. Blood pressure was significantly different across worksites even after controlling for known risk factors using analysis of covariance. Of the variation in systolic pressure, 34% was predicted significantly by eight variables; after adjusting for upper-arm circumference, age and body mass index, higher pressures were associated with worksite differences (9.0 mmHg), being male (7.2 mmHg), lacking a high-school education (4.3 mmHg), having a clerical occupation (2.9 mmHg) and being unmarried (1.8 mmHg). Similar results for diastolic pressure suggest that researchers should consider worksite and job characteristics as important predictors of blood pressure differences in working populations.

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