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Job Affects Obesity Risk

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Obesity rates are higher among blue-collar workers and those who work shifts and long hours than among white collar workers and those with regular hours and shorter hours, according to a Statistics Canada study.

The analysis of data from two national surveys conducted in 2005 found that men working more than 40 hours a week were more likely to be obese than those who worked 30 to 40 hours a week, and that male and female shift workers were more likely to be obese than those with regularly scheduled work hours, CBC News reported.

Stress caused by long and irregular work hours may be one cause of the higher obesity levels, said study author Jungwee Park, who added that irregular work schedules may also make it more difficult for people to eat a healthy diet.

Park also found a significant link between low education levels and increased risk of obesity in workers ages 35 to 54. Those with less than a high school diploma were 1.6 times more likely to be obese than those with a post-secondary education. However, this kind of association between education and obesity wasn't seen in workers ages 18 to 34, CBC News reported.

The study also found that overall rates of obesity are increasing.

"In 2005, 15.7 percent of employed Canadians aged 18 to 64, or more than two million people, were obese, up from 12.5 percent in the mid-1990s," Park said.

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