Occupational health and metabolic risk factors: A pilot intervention for transport workers

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Naug, Helen L
Colson, Natalie J
Kundur, Avinash
Kumar, Abishek Santha
Tucakovic, Lada
Roberts, Michael
Singh, Indu
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Objectives: Heavy vehicle transport workers have a high risk of obesity and obesity-related disorders including cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Sedentary nature of their work makes a healthy work and lifestyle balance difficult to achieve. Educational interventions that promote behavioral changes have been shown to be effective in various group settings. The aims of this study were to determine the prevalence of metabolic risk factors among a population of urban bus drivers; to deliver a 3-month educational intervention specifically tailored for the workplace environment of transport workers; and to evaluate the efficacy of the intervention through quantitative measurements and qualitative feedback. Material and Methods: Thirty-three bus drivers from depots in south Queensland were recruited for the study. Baseline metabolic data were collected through anthropometric measurements, blood collection and diet/lifestyle questionnaires. Metabolic risk factors that were analyzed included: waist circumference, blood pressure, fasting glucose, blood triglycerides and high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C). Three interactive seminars were delivered over a 3-month period. At the end of the period, data collection was repeated. Results: At the commencement of the study, 35% of the participants exhibited ≥ 3 of the metabolic risk factors that characterize metabolic syndrome. This is higher than the reported prevalence in the general Australian population (22.1%). A total 21 of the 33 participants remained committed to the intervention and provided pre and post intervention data. Of these, 28% (N = 6) showed a decrease in one or more of the risk factors associated with metabolic syndrome. There was a significant increase in the average HDL-C after the intervention. Qualitative feedback indicated that the workers benefited from the program, especially regarding their awareness of the risks associated with their profession. Conclusions: This pilot study demonstrates that lifestyle education seminars specifically tailored for the workplace can have an impact on the health behaviors of transport workers.

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International Journal of Occupational Medicine and Environmental Health

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© The Author(s) 2016. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC 3.0) License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/) which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, providing that the work is properly cited.

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