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Ind Health. 2014;52(3):240-7. Epub 2014 Apr 2.

Behavioral variables associated with obesity in police officers.

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Administration of Justice Program, Penn State University, USA.


Past research has documented that non-behavioral variables (such as long work hours, exposure to police stressors) are associated with obesity risk in police officers, but limited research has examined behavioral variables that might be targeted by Employee Assistance Programs for police weight management. The present study compared non-obese and obese officers for behavioral variables found associated with obesity in other adult samples: physical activity (cardiovascular, strength-training, stretching), sleep duration, and consumption of alcohol, fruit and vegetables, and snack foods. Participants included 172 male police officers who completed questionnaires to report height and weight, used to calculate body mass index (BMI = kg/m(2)) and to divide them into "non-obese" and "obese" groups. They also reported the above behaviors and six non-behavioral variables found associated with obesity risk: age, health problems, family support, police work hours, police stressors, police support. ANCOVAs compared each behavioral variable across obesity status (non-obese, obese), with the six non-behavioral variables used as covariates. Results revealed that cardiovascular and strength-training physical activity were the only behavioral variables that differed significantly between non-obese and obese police officers. The use of self-reported height and weight values may provide Employee Assistance Program with improved cost, time, and officer participation.

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