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Michigan autoworkers have higher risk of heart disease, diabetes: study

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Lansing, MI – Michigan autoworkers have a greater risk of heart disease and double the frequency of diabetes compared to the general population, according to a recent study from Michigan State University.

Researchers examined risk factors such as obesity, smoking, high cholesterol and high blood pressure among 190 autoworkers in Lansing and Pontiac, MI. Participants answered a questionnaire, provided blood samples, and had their blood pressure and body fat measured.

Heart disease was the leading cause of death and disability among the workers, according to data from General Motors and the United Auto Workers, which funded the study. In addition:

  • More than 15 percent of the autoworkers had diabetes, double the national average.
  • More than half (53.7 percent) were obese and 35.8 percent were overweight.
  • 67.9 percent of workers had high levels of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, more than double the national average of 31 percent.
  • Less than half (47 percent) attended a company wellness program.

“Hopefully companies will look at this data and begin to implement health and wellness programs that their employees will participate in,” Ved Gossain, Swartz Professor of Medicine at MSU, said in a Jan. 16 press release.

The study was published Sept. 11 in the Journal of Endocrinology, Diabetes & Obesity.