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J Occup Med. 1991 Jan;33(1):29-36.

Use of population-based data to assess risk factor profiles of blue and white collar workers.

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  • 1Division of Health Education, Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island, Pawtucket 02860.


In light of increasing interest in the workplace as a site for primary prevention of chronic disease, more information concerning the current health status of workers is needed. This report compares "blue collar" (n = 2118) and "white collar" (n = 1900) respondents from a population-based random sample survey conducted in two southeastern New England communities. The specific responses were to a household interview and physiological measures emphasizing the risk factors for cardiovascular disease. These risk factors were elevated blood cholesterol, elevated blood pressure, smoking, being overweight and physical inactivity. Designation as blue or white collar was based upon the Standard Occupational Classification Manual. Gender specific comparisons of physiological status and self-reported knowledge attitudes and behaviors related to cardiovascular disease revealed that blue collar workers are at higher risk only for certain controllable risk factors, namely smoking and body mass index (women only). Contrary to other reports in the literature we have not found any significant difference in blood pressure or total cholesterol between the two groups. Even when people in high risk categories (systolic blood pressure greater than or equal to 140 mm/Hg, diastolic blood pressure greater than or equal to 90 mm/Hg cholesterol greater than or equal to 240 mg/dL) were studied the distributions were equally similar in both blue and white collar workers among each gender group. These findings indicate that educational interventions should target all segments of the population regardless of the nature of their occupation. More emphasis should be placed on offering programs to increase knowledge and improve health-related attitudes of blue collar workers.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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