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Study explores occupational groups and heart health

August 30, 2016

Washington – Community and social services, along with transportation and material moving, are among the industries with the highest prevalence of workers whose cardiovascular health is “not ideal,” according to recent research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Using the 2013 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, researchers examined data on nearly 67,000 workers in 21 states to see if they met the seven “ideal” cardiovascular health metrics set by the American Heart Association: not smoking, physically active, normal blood pressure, normal blood glucose, normal weight, normal cholesterol levels and a healthy diet. According to AHA, less than 2 percent of U.S. adults meet all seven metrics.

Results showed that workers in community and social services (14.6 percent), and transportation and material moving (14.3 percent) had the highest frequency of meeting no more than two of the seven metrics. Among all workers included in the study, only 3.5 percent met all seven metrics.

Workers with the highest prevalence of “not ideal” scores were:

  • Transportation and material moving workers for physical activity (54.1 percent), blood pressure (31.9 percent) and weight (75.5 percent).
  • Farming, fishing and forestry employees (84.3 percent) for diet.
  • Computer and mathematical workers (39.9 percent) for cholesterol.
  • Food preparation and serving workers (22.8 percent) for smoking.
  • Personal care and service workers (10.3 percent) for blood glucose.

The researchers noted that factors such as work-related chemical exposure, stress and shift rotation may affect the metrics. “The workplace is a viable and necessary site for carrying out cardiovascular health interventions, and attention to work conditions as a risk factor for CVD warrants further consideration,” researchers wrote.

Cardiovascular morbidity and mortality account for $120 billion lost in productivity annually, the study states.

The research was published in the Aug. 12 issue of CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.