• Article

Occupational Physical Activity and Body Mass Index


Singer, R. H., Stoutenberg, M., Gellman, M. D., Archer, E., Davis, S. M., Gotman, N., ... Zambrana, R. E. (2016). Occupational Physical Activity and Body Mass Index: Results from the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos. PLoS One, 11(3). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0152339


PURPOSE: To examine the associations between overweight/obesity and occupation among Hispanics/Latinos, the largest minority population in the U.S.

METHODS: This study included 7,409 employed individuals in the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL), a prospective study of Hispanic/Latino individuals aged 18-74 in four communities in the U.S. We independently examined the relationships between BMI, Occupational Activity (OA), and Total Hours Worked, quantified via self-reported hours worked per week and occupation-assigned Metabolic Equivalents (METs).

RESULTS: More than three quarters of the participants were either overweight (39.3%) or obese (37.8%). Individuals with a primary occupation and those employed in a secondary occupation worked an average of 36.8 and 14.6 hrs/wk, respectively. The overall adjusted odds for being obese compared to normal weight were 3.2% (AOR = 1.03, 95% CI 1.01, 1.05) and 14.4% (AOR = 1.14 95% Cl 1.07, 1.23) greater for each 10 MET•hrs/wk unit of increased OA, and each 10-hrs/wk unit of Total Hours Worked, respectively.

CONCLUSION: This study presents the first findings on the association between OA with overweight/obesity among Hispanic/Latino individuals in the U.S. Increasing OA and Total Hours Worked per week were independently associated with increasing odds of overweight/obesity suggesting that the workplace is only one part of the overall energy expenditure dynamic. Our findings point to the need to emphasize engaging employed individuals in greater levels of PA outside of the work environment to impact overweight/obesity.