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Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine:
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e318247a379
Original Articles

Health Status and Risk Indicator Trends of the Aging US Health Care Workforce

Lee, David J. PhD; Fleming, Lora E. MD, PhD, MPH, MSc; LeBlanc, William G. PhD; Arheart, Kristopher L. EdD; Ferraro, Kenneth F. PhD; Pitt-Catsouphes, Marcie PhD; Muntaner, Carles MD, PhD; Fernandez, Cristina A. MSEd; Caban-Martinez, Alberto J. DO, PhD, MPH; Davila, Evelyn P. PhD; Bandiera, Frank C. MPH; Lewis, John E. PhD; Kachan, Diana BS

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Abstract

Objectives: To describe the health status and risk indicator trends in a representative sample of US health care workers aged 45 years and older.

Methods: Using pooled data from the 1997 to 2009 National Health Interview Survey, logistic regression analyses were performed to determine whether age-group specific morbidity risks differed within occupational subgroups of the health care workforce (N = 6509). Health and morbidity trends were examined via complex survey adjusted and weighted chi-squared tests.

Results: Rates of functional limitation and hypertension increased among diagnosing/assessing health care workers. The prevalence of hearing impairment, cancer, and hypertension was two to three times greater in health-diagnosing/assessing workers aged 60 years and older than in younger workers. Health care service workers were up to 19 times more likely to be obese than workers who diagnose/assess health.

Conclusions: Healthier workplaces and targeted interventions are needed to optimize the ability to meet health care demands of this aging workforce.

©2012The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine

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