Effect of Obesity on the Work Health-Related Behaviors and Quality of Life of South African Mining Employees: A Pilot Study

  •  Shereen C. Currie    
  •  Michelle Smit    
  •  Mondli Linda    
  •  Jeanne Grace    


BACKGROUND: Obesity rates have increased precipitously with a significant economic impact. Aim: The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of obesity on the work health-related behaviors and quality of life (QoL) of employees of mining companies in South Africa.

METHODS: Forty (40) subjects from three mining companies were assigned to three BMI categories: normal weight (18.5‒24.9 kg/m2; n = 10), overweight 25.0‒29.9 kg/m2; n = 15), and obese (≥30.0 kg/m2; n = 15). Subjects wore a BodyMedia®FIT armband for seven consecutive days, and completed: 1) the WHO QoL; and 2) the WHO Health at Work survey.

RESULTS: There were significant differences in calorie expenditure (p = 0.033), activity patterns (p = 0.017), and number of steps walked daily (p = 0.018) between the overweight and obese groups. Those of normal weight reported being significantly (p = 0.041) more satisfied with their QoL and their leisure time activities and income (p = 0.017) than the obese. Almost all the significant differences with regard to work health-related behaviors were between the overweight and obese groups.

CONCLUSION: Results provide preliminary support for targeting weight loss as obesity may adversely influence employees’ work health-related behaviors and QoL.

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