Implications of obesity on occupational health

By Colim, A.; Arezes, P. M.; Flores, P.; Arezes, PM; SantosBaptista, J; Barroso, MP; Carneiro&

Occupational Safety and Hygiene

2013

Abstract

Obesity is an emerging public health problem. Therefore, obese subjects are a growing fraction of the workforce. Although different negative effects of obesity on work performance have been demonstrated before, additional studies are required to provide a more complete understanding of those effects on work performance. This study aimed to analyse the perceptions of occupational health practitioners about the obesi-ty implications on some work tasks, especially on manual materials handling tasks. With this purpose, qualita-tive data were collected from eight semi-structured interviews. The interviewees argued that obese workers present different limitations, such as lower physical resistance, locomotor difficulties and postural restrictions. These individual limitations have negative implications on work, namely on absenteeism and on the decrease of productivity. To prevent these consequences, companies should adopt educational programs, among other initiatives, in order to establish a culture of health promotion at the workplaces.

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