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Prevalence of Obesity, No Leisure-Time Physical Activity, and Short Sleep Duration Among Occupational Groups in 29 States

Birdsey, Jan MPH; Sussell, Aaron L. PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: December 2017 - Volume 59 - Issue 12 - p 1221–1228
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000001165

Objective: The aim of this study was to examine prevalence of obesity (body mass index of 30 or higher), no leisure-time physical activity in the past 30 days (no LTPA), and short sleep duration (averaging less than 7 hours of sleep per 24-hour period) among 22 occupational groups.

Methods: We analyzed 2013 and 2014 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data from 29 states, controlling for sex, age, race/ethnicity, and education.

Results: By occupation, prevalence ranged from 16.1% to 35.8% for obesity, 11.3% to 28.7% for no LTPA, and 31.4% to 42.9% for short sleep. Only Transportation & Material Moving ranked among the top five occupations for all three risk factors. Obesity and no LTPA varied significantly by sex for several occupations.

Conclusion: Prevalence of obesity, no LTPA, and short sleep varied by occupation and affected more than one in five U.S. workers.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations and Field Studies, Surveillence Branch, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Address correspondence to: Jan Birdsey, MPH, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Robert A. Taft Laboratories, 1090 Tusculum Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45226-1938 (

The findings and conclusions in this manuscript are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

The authors do not have any conflicts of interest.

Copyright © 2017 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine