Perceived Stress, Behavior, and Body Mass Index Among Adults Participating in a Worksite Obesity Prevention Program, Seattle, 2005–2007
Source:Prev Chronic Dis. 9.
Body Mass Index
Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
Health Status Indicators
Occupational Health Services
Stress in numerous contexts may affect the risk for obesity through biobehavioral processes. Acute stress has been associated with diet and physical activity in some studies; the relationship between everyday stress and such behavior is not clear. The objective of this study was to examine associations between perceived stress, dietary behavior, physical activity, eating awareness, self-efficacy, and body mass index (BMI) among healthy working adults. Secondary objectives were to explore whether eating awareness modified the relationship between perceived stress and dietary behavior and perceived stress and BMI.
Promoting Activity and Changes in Eating (PACE) was a group-randomized worksite intervention to prevent weight gain in the Seattle metropolitan area from 2005 through 2007. A subset of 621 participants at 33 worksites provided complete information on perceived stress at baseline. Linear mixed models evaluated cross-sectional associations.
The mean (standard deviation [SD]) Perceived Stress Scale-10 score among all participants was 12.7 (6.4), and the mean (SD) BMI was 29.2 kg/m2 (6.3 kg/m2). Higher levels of perceived stress were associated with lower levels of eating awareness, physical activity, and walking. Among participants who had low levels of eating awareness, higher levels of perceived stress were associated with fewer servings of fruit and vegetables and greater consumption of fast food meals.
Dietary and physical activity behaviors of workers may be associated with average levels of perceived stress. Longitudinal studies are needed, however, to support inclusion of stress management or mindfulness techniques in workplace obesity prevention efforts.
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