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Physical workload and obesity have a synergistic effect on work ability among construction workers.

Authors
  • Tonnon, Susanne C1
  • Robroek, Suzan R J2
  • van der Beek, Allard J3
  • Burdorf, Alex2
  • van der Ploeg, Hidde P1
  • Caspers, Margo4
  • Proper, Karin I1, 5
  • 1 Department of Public and Occupational Health, Amsterdam Public Health research institute, VU University Medical Center, PO Box 7057, 1007 MB, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. , (Netherlands)
  • 2 Department of Public Health, Erasmus MC University Medical Center, P.O. Box 2040, 3000 CA, Rotterdam, The Netherlands. , (Netherlands)
  • 3 Department of Public and Occupational Health, Amsterdam Public Health research institute, VU University Medical Center, PO Box 7057, 1007 MB, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. [email protected] , (Netherlands)
  • 4 Volandis, Postbus 85, 3840 AB, Harderwijk, The Netherlands. , (Netherlands)
  • 5 National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Centre for Nutrition, Prevention and Health Services, Postbus 1, 3720 BA, Bilthoven, The Netherlands. , (Netherlands)
Type
Published Article
Journal
International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health
Publisher
Springer-Verlag
Publication Date
Aug 01, 2019
Volume
92
Issue
6
Pages
855–864
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s00420-019-01422-7
PMID: 30941545
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Obesity and high physical workload are both associated with poor work ability, but the interaction between obesity and high physical workload on work ability is not yet fully understood. Obesity and high physical workload may share a common mechanical pathway, possibly leading to a synergistic negative effect on work ability. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of obesity on work ability in workers with high versus low physical work load. A longitudinal study was conducted among 36,435 Dutch construction workers who participated in at least two periodic medical examinations during the years 2008-2015. Logistic regression analyses were used to investigate the effect of manual material handling and strenuous work postures in sports on the association between obesity and work ability. Work ability was measured using the self-reported Work Ability Index consisting of seven dimensions. Confounding effects were tested for age, educational level, smoking, vigorous physical activity, psychosocial work demands, and working hours. Additive interaction between obesity and physical workload on work ability was tested using the relative excess risk due to interaction (RERI). Construction workers with overweight (OR = 1.09; 95% CI 1.02-1.16) or obesity (OR = 1.27; 95% CI 1.17-1.38) had an increased risk of poor/moderate work ability. Exposure to manual material handling (OR = 1.58; 95% CI 1.49-1.68) or strenuous work postures (OR = 1.80; 95% CI 1.70-1.90) also increased the risk of poor/moderate work ability. The effect of the combination of obesity with high physical workload was greater than the sum of the individual effects (strenuous work postures: RERI = 0.39; 95% CI 0.10-0.67; manual material handling: RERI = 0.26; 95% CI 0.02-0.51). Obesity and high physical workload were associated with poor work ability and had a synergistic, negative effect on work ability. Interventions that prevent obesity and high physical workload might have a beneficial effect on work ability.

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