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Healthy Eating and Leisure-Time Activity: Cross-Sectional Analysis of that Role of Work Environments in the U.S.

Williams, Jessica A.R. PhD; Arcaya, Mariana ScD; Subramanian, S.V. PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: November 2017 - Volume 59 - Issue 11 - p 1095–1100
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000001141
Original Articles

Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate relationships between work context and two health behaviors, healthy eating and leisure-time physical activity (LTPA), in U.S. adults.

Methods: Using data from the 2010 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) and Occupational Information Network (N = 14,863), we estimated a regression model to predict the marginal and joint probabilities of healthy eating and adhering to recommended exercise guidelines.

Results: Decision-making freedom was positively related to healthy eating and both behaviors jointly. Higher physical load was associated with a lower marginal probability of LTPA, healthy eating, and both behaviors jointly. Smoke and vapor exposures were negatively related to healthy eating and both behaviors. Chemical exposure was positively related to LTPA and both behaviors. Characteristics associated with marginal probabilities were not always predictive of joint outcomes.

Conclusion: On the basis of nationwide occupation-specific evidence, workplace characteristics are important for healthy eating and LTPA.

Department of Health Policy and Management, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, Kansas (Dr Williams); Massachusetts Institute of Technology, School of Architecture and Urban, Planning, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Cambridge, Massachusetts (Dr Arcaya); and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Boston, Massachusetts (Dr Subramanian).

Address correspondence to: Jessica A.R. Williams, PhD, Department of Health Policy and Management, University of Kansas Medical Center, Mail Stop 3044, 3901 Rainbow Blvd., Kansas City, KS 66160 (

This work was funded by a Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies/Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Open Grant.

The authors have no conflicts of interest.

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