Pressure at work increases weight gain in women but doesn’t have the same effect in men, suggests results of a study conducted in Sweden and published in the International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health.
Over a 20-year period, more than 3,800 men and women in a Swedish population-based study were asked about their job stresses — work pace, psychological pressures, time constraints, and contradictory demands, for example. They were also asked about how often they had to learn something new at work, whether their job required imagination or advanced skills, and whether they were personally able to choose what to do and how to do it. The researchers also monitored study participants’ body weight over the study period.
Men and women who had little control over their jobs gained at least 10 percent of their body weight (considered major weight gain) compared to those who had more control at work, but high job demands affected major weight gain only in women over the long term. More than half of women with high demands at work saw a major increase in weight over 20 years — a rate about 20 percent higher than for women working in low-demand jobs. According to the researchers, lifestyle factors and education didn’t play a significant role in this association.