research presented at the American Heart Association's
Epidemiology/Lifestyle 2016 meeting shows that workers age 45 years or
older in sales, office-support or service occupations have more risk
factors for heart disease and stroke as compared to workers in
management or professional jobs.
research found wide variation in the cardiovascular risk profiles based
on profession. Despite the fact that nearly 88 percent of workers 45
years and older did not smoke and 78 percent had ideal glucose levels,
only around 41 percent could be classified as having ideal
cardiovascular health on five other measures.
study was conducted with 5,566 male and female employees who had no
history of heart disease or stroke at the beginning of the study. The
findings show that transportation/material moving workers had the
highest smoking rate among participants (22 percent); 68 percent
of sales, office and administrative support employees had poor eating
habits; 69 percent of sales employees did not have ideal total
cholesterol; 82 percent of office and administrative support workers did
not have ideal scores for physical activity. 79 percent of food
preparation and serving employees had a poor diet quality; 90 percent of
protective service workers were likely to be overweight or obese and 77
percent did not have ideal cholesterol levels or blood pressure (35
it was observed that management/professionals had better cardiovascular
health than other categories. One third of these employees had ideal
body mass; 75 percent were at least moderately active and only 6 percent
were smokers. However, 72 percent of white collar employees in business
and finance had poor eating habits.
researchers evaluated the study participants on seven modifiable risk
factors by using the American Heart Association's "Life's Simple 7".
Participants were rated as ideal, intermediate or poor. Ideal scores
were achieved if the employees achieved high ratings without any
medication (blood pressure lower than 120/80 mm Hg; total cholesterol
was below 200 mg/dL; and/or blood glucose was lower than 100 mg/dL while
fasting or 140 without fasting). In addition, a BMI of 25 and intense,
break-a-sweat activity four or more times a week was also considered
lower the number of ideal cardiovascular risk factors, the easier it
becomes to predict their future health ills, including premature death,
heart disease, stroke and kidney disease," said Captain Leslie
MacDonald, Sc.D., lead researcher and senior scientist in the U.S.
Public Health Service, National Institute for Occupational Safety and
Health, of the Centers for Disease Control.
these ideals were difficult to achieve among older workers. Workers
received top marks if they met four out of five goals which included:
- consuming 4.5 or more cups of fruits or vegetables daily;
- 3.5 ounces of fish at least twice a week;
- less than 1,500 milligrams of sodium a day;
- 450 or fewer calories a week in sugary foods; and
- three or more servings (each equivalent to one ounce) of whole grains daily.
also explains that some workers have more barriers than others such as
long work hours, low job control, inflexible work schedules, workplace
demands, job stress etc. But trying to attain better cardiovascular
health should always be a priority. "It's important to take small steps
and not get overwhelmed or discouraged," MacDonald said.
can do so by taking small steps such as going for a walk during lunch
break, parking farther from destination, taking the stairs instead of
the elevator etc.
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