Saf Health Work.  2017 Mar;8(1):89-93. 10.1016/j.shaw.2016.05.005.

Beating Obesity: Factors Associated with Interest in Workplace Weight Management Assistance in the Mining Industry

Affiliations
  • 1Wesley Medical Research, Queensland, Australia. tstreet@wesleyresearch.com.au
  • 2Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety Queensland, Queensland University of Technology, Queensland, Australia.

Abstract

BACKGROUND
Rates of overweight and obese Australians are high and continue to rise, putting a large proportion of the population at risk of chronic illness. Examining characteristics associated with preference for a work-based weight-loss program will enable employers to better target programs to increase enrolment and benefit employees' health and fitness for work.
METHODS
A cross-sectional survey was undertaken at two Australian mining sites. The survey collected information on employee demographics, health characteristics, work characteristics, stages of behavior change, and preference for workplace assistance with reaching a healthy weight.
RESULTS
A total of 897 employees participated; 73.7% were male, and 68% had a body mass index in the overweight or obese range. Employees at risk of developing obesity-related chronic illnesses (based on high body mass index) were more likely to report preference for weight management assistance than lower risk employees. This indicates that, even in the absence of workplace promotion for weight management, some at risk employees want workplace assistance. Employees who were not aware of a need to change their current nutrition or physical activity behaviors were less likely to seek assistance. This indicates that practitioners need to communicate the negative effects of excess weight and promote the benefits of a healthy lifestyle to increase the likelihood of weight management.
CONCLUSION
Weight management programs should provide information, motivation. and trouble-shooting assistance to meet the needs of at-risk mining employees, including those who are attempting to change and maintain behaviors to achieve a healthy weight and be suitably fit for work.

Keyword

healthy people programs; occupational health; occupational health services; weight-reduction programs
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