Unhealthy and healthy weight control behaviours among bus operators

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Abstract

Background

Urban bus operators are an occupational group with high rates of overweight and obesity. Understanding methods bus operators use for weight control may be important; there may be increased risk for these workers to engage in less healthy weight management behaviours due to stressful working conditions.

Aims

To examine the prevalence of unhealthy and healthy weight control behaviours used by bus operators and examine associations between use of unhealthy weight control behaviours and work-related and sociodemographic variables.

Methods

Bus operators from four different transit garages were invited to complete a self-administered survey; height and weight were measured by research staff. Unhealthy and healthy weight control behaviours, work hours, work schedule and social support were measured with self-report items on the employee survey. Logistic regression analysis was conducted to estimate associations.

Results

Nearly 60% of bus operators endorsed at least one unhealthy method; over 50% reported skipping meals, 30% fasted and 10% reported taking diet pills in the past year. Bus operator gender, race, body mass index status and hours worked per week showed significant associations with using at least one unhealthy weight control behaviour.

Conclusions

Worksite interventions should emphasize the benefit of healthy eating and physical activity but should also address the use of less healthy methods for weight control for individuals employed in transportation occupations.

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