Stress and Obesity: Partners in DiseaseStress and Obesity: Partners in DiseaseIntroductionBest Evidence ReferenceBrunner EJ, Chandola T, Marmot MG. Prospective effect of job strain on general and central obesity in the Whitehall II Study.
CommentaryObesity is a burgeoning problem in the developed world, and certain behaviors, such as increased portion sizes and reduced physical activity, can help explain why the obesity epidemic is spreading. Job strain might also contribute to the prevalence of obesity, and the current study addresses this issue in a cohort of civil servants followed over time.
Obesity continues to be one of the largest public health concerns of the developed world. Analysis of data from the 2001-2002 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) found that the prevalence rates of overweight and obesity among US adults were 31.5% and 30.5%, respectively. The prevalence of overweight in children was 16.5%. Compared to the previous NHANES survey (1988-1994), the body mass index (BMI) greater than 30 among adults had doubled.
(Of note, the prevalence of overweight and obesity were fairly stable between the 1999-2000 and 2001-2002 examination periods.)While the problem of obesity has been well publicized, clinicians should also understand that societal factors play a prominent role in obesity. In research sponsored by the World Health Organization involving 26 different populations worldwide, surveys of over 30,000 subjects found an inverse trend between BMI and highest educational level attained. Women with lower educational attainment were significantly more likely to be obese compared with men with similar educational backgrounds, although lower educational levels in both sexes were associated with higher obesity. Moreover, the negative association between educational attainment and obesity increased over the 10-year study period, indicating that the obesity gap between well-educated and poorly educated individuals was increasing. To reinforce these data, another study limited to developed countries found...