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Keywords:

  • transportation, warehousing, utilities;
  • risk factors;
  • health behaviors;
  • disability measures, injury

Abstract

Background

The TWU super sector is engaged in the movement of passengers and cargo, warehousing of goods, and the delivery of services. The purpose of this study is to describe employee self-reported personal risk factors, health behaviors and habits, disease and chronic conditions, and employer-reported nonfatal injury experiences of workers in the TWU super sector.

Methods

National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) data for 1997–2007, grouped into six morbidity and disability categories and three age groups, were reviewed. Demographic characteristics and prevalence estimates are reported for workers in the TWU super sector and the entire U.S. workforce, and compared with national adult population data from the NHIS. Bureau of Labor Statistics employer-reported TWU injury data from 2003 to 2007 was also reviewed.

Results

An average of 8.3 million workers were employed annually in the TWU super sector. TWU workers 65 or older reported the highest prevalence of hypertension (49%) across all industry sectors, but the 20% prevalence is notable among middle age workers (25–64). TWU workers had the highest prevalence of obesity (28%), compared to workers in all other industry sectors. Female TWU workers experienced the highest number of lost workdays (6.5) in the past year across all TWU demographic groups.

Conclusions

Self-reported high proportions of chronic conditions including hypertension and heart disease combined with elevated levels of being overweight and obese, and lack of physical activity—particularly among TWUs oldest workers—can meaningfully inform wellness strategies and interventions focused on this demographic group. Am. J. Ind. Med. 56:556–568, 2013. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.