February 20, 2009

More obese in Canadian workforce

The prevalence of obesity in the Canadian workforce -- especially for men -- has risen during the past decade, government officials said.

A report by Statistics Canada found that in 2005, 15.7 percent of employed Canadians ages 18-64 -- more than 2 million people -- were obese, up from 12.5 percent in the mid-1990s.

Obesity was most prevalent among workers ages 55-64, 21 percent of whom were obese in 2005. This held for both men and women, although the prevalence was lower among women, the report said.

Male workers ages 35-54 with lower personal income levels were less likely to be obese than their counterparts with high income. However, women with low personal income were more likely to be obese than high-income earners.

Men working more than 40 hours per week were also more likely to be obese than regular full-time workers who worked 30 to 40 hours per week. Obesity was related to elevated levels of work stress. Obese workers reported higher job strain and lower support from co-workers, the report said.