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Keywords:

  • urban health;
  • health behaviors;
  • lifestyle;
  • job strain;
  • stress;
  • overweight;
  • exercise;
  • smoking;
  • alcohol;
  • nutrition

Abstract

Background

Occupational stress and unhealthy lifestyles are common characteristics of urban workers. The association between health behaviors and job stress of urban Brazilian civil servants was studied.

Methods

A cross-sectional study included 893 workers. Health markers, the dependent variables, were: Fruit/vegetable (FV) and alcohol (A) intake, physical activity (PA), including at work (PAW), smoking (S), BMI ≥ 25 Kg/m2. Occupational stress, assessed by Job Stress Scale-Brazilian version, classified employees into: High-strain, Low-strain, Active, and Passive. Prevalence rates and multivariate Poisson models were adopted.

Results

On average, employees (mean age = 40.2 years; 69.1% female) reported healthy lifestyle factors: FV (56%); PA (59.7%); S (13.3%); however, 49.4% were overweight. Compared to low-strain, high-strain workers reported higher PAW; passive workers lesser PA and higher PAW. After adjusting for socio-demographics and work characteristics, the occupational stress dimensions were no longer associated to health behaviors.

Conclusions

Our results do not support the hypothesis of an effect for occupational stress on urban employees' health behaviors. Am. J. Ind. Med. 56:49–57, 2013. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.