We previously showed that Chinese workers were more obese compared with age-, sex and occupational category matched Japanese workers despite lower work stress. The aim of this study was to examine if job stress is related to obesity among urban Chinese workers in a greater population.Design and Method:
We compared job stress, body mass index and cardio metabolic risks between 241 Chinese (41 ± 10 yrs, 74% men) and Japanese workers in Shanghai matched for age, sex, and job category based on propensity score. Job demand and control were quantified using the NIOSH questionnaire and were categorized as low and high according to the median. Obesity was defined as BMI≥25 kg/m2. Relationships between the 2 job stress measures and obesity were examined by multiple logistic regression analysis.Results:
Chinese showed higher BMI (23.9 ± 3.3 vs. 23.2 ± 3.0 kg/m2, p = 0.013), and hemoglobin A1c than Japanese as reported previously. Obesity was more prevalent in Chinese than in Japanese (35.6 vs. 25.3%, p = 0.010). High job demand showed significantly higher odds ratio for obesity compared with low demand (OR 2.10, 95%CI: 1.17–3.77) after adjustments for covariance in Chinese but not in Japanese, although job demand score was significantly lower in Chinese (10.3 ± 4.0 vs. 12.8 ± 3.3, p < 0.001).Conclusions:
Relatively high job demand was associated with more prevalent of obesity in urban Chinese workers. Our data also suggest that there are ethnic differences in the relationship between job stress and cardio-metabolic risks.