Saf Health Work.  2020 Mar;11(1):97-102. 10.1016/

Trends in Obesity Prevalence by Occupation Based on Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey From 1998 to 2015

  • 1Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Republic of Korea


It is well known that the prevalence of obesity in Korea is increasing over time, however it is not known how the trends among occupational groups and sex differ in such increasing trends. This study was designed to provide recent trends of obesity among workers in Korea and to identify whether there were differences among occupational groups.
We used data from the Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, Phases I to VI (1998–2015), to analyze trends in the prevalence of obesity in adult Korean workers. Obesity was defined as a body mass index of 25 kg/m2 or higher. Occupations were classified into 3 groups: (a) nonmanual workers, (b) service/sales workers, and (c) manual workers.
During the period of the Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Phases I to VI, the prevalence of obesity in male workers increased in all occupations (31.1% to 39.5% in manual workers, 32.3% to 38.2% in service/sales workers, and 25.3% to 39.7% in manual workers). However, female workers did not show any particular tendency toward obesity, except for a significant decrease in the prevalence rate in service/sales workers (30.8% to 23.9%, p for trend = 0.0048).
The trends of obesity prevalence by sex and occupation were different. For male manual workers, the prevalence rate increased steadily during the data period, while it decreased steadily in female sales/service workers.


Obesity; Occupations; Prevalence; Trends
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