U.S. workers: Lack of exercise more closely linked to obesity

May 10, 2013 at 11:36 PM
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WASHINGTON, May 10 (UPI) -- U.S. workers who exercise fewer than three days a week are more closely linked to being obese than any of 26 other factors, a survey indicates.

The Gallup survey of more than 139,000 U.S. workers found not eating healthy, not having enough money to buy food, not having a safe place to exercise, having a history of depression and not visiting a dentist annually are all linked to U.S. workers being obese.

The analysis also showed not smoking and having a personal doctor were also moderate predictors of obesity among U.S. workers. Studies have shown that nicotine is an appetite suppressant, which is one explanation for why workers who smoke are less likely to be obese. Still, the negative health effects from smoking arguably outweigh any healthy weight benefits, Gallup said.

The findings were based on data collected as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index from Jan. 2-Sept. 10, 2012. Gallup calculated respondents' body mass index using the standard formula based on their self-reported height and weight.

The analysis estimated the relationship between workers' obesity and each of 27 behavioral and emotional factors while controlling for age, ethnicity, race, marital status, gender, income, education, region and religiosity.

The analysis found other behavioral and emotional factors including: feeling well-rested; and emotions including worry, sadness, stress, anger, and happiness, were not strongly or moderately related to obesity among U.S. workers.

In addition, job satisfaction; using one's strengths at work; having health insurance; having enough money for healthcare; and having easy access to clean water, fruit and vegetables were not strongly or moderately related to obesity among the U.S. workforce.

The survey has a margin of 3.7 percentage points.

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