Smoking, BMI and psychological strain and fitness in the Naval Service

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BackgroundData from the Naval Service (NS) cohort study of psychological strain were extracted and analysed to investigate the relationship between self-reported health and lifestyle factors and medical fitness. Identification of factors associated with medical downgrading is of obvious value in shaping future health and safety policy and in understanding the relative contributions of physical and psychosocial factors to adverse occupational health outcomes.AimsTo identify variables associated with a lack of fitness to serve.MethodExtraction and analysis of data from the Phase I of the study, with a binary outcome of fitness as the dependent variable, controlling for psychosocial and other confounders.ResultsStepwise logistic regression analysis found statistically significant effects due to smoking, body mass index (BMI), General Health Questionnaire (GHQ)-12 and work–family conflict. The model accounted for 5.6% of the variance in medical grading, 3% of which was due to smoking.ConclusionsWith psychosocial factors and GHQ-12 scores accounted for, personnel who were not fully fit for NS were found to be more likely to be smokers and to have a high BMI (≥25).

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