Saturday, July 11, 2009

Stress causes health risk behavior

American Journal of Epidemiology 2009 170(2):181-192;

Psychosocial Stress and Change in Weight Among US Adults

Jason P. Block, Yulei He, Alan M. Zaslavsky, Lin Ding and John Z. Ayanian

Correspondence to Dr. John Z. Ayanian, Department of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School, 180 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115 (e-mail:

Received for publication December 23, 2008. Accepted for publication April 2, 2009.

The association of psychosocial stress with weight gain may have important implications for clinical practice and workplace and public health interventions. To determine whether multiple domains of psychosocial stress were associated with weight gain from 1995 to 2004, the authors analyzed a nationally representative longitudinal cohort of 1,355 men and women in the United States. Change in body mass index was assessed for multiple domains of psychosocial stress related to work, personal relationships, life constraints, and finances, controlling for other factors associated with weight gain. All analyses were stratified by sex and weighted to account for the complex survey design. Among men with high baseline body mass index, weight gain was associated with increasing levels of psychosocial stress related to job-related demands (P <> index), lack of skill discretion (P = 0.014), lack of decision authority (P = 0.026), and difficulty paying bills (P = 0.004). Among women with high baseline body mass index, weight gain was associated with job-related demands (P<> with baseline body mass index), perceived constraints in life (P <>P = 0.016), and difficulty paying bills (P = 0.010). Interventions to address psychosocial stress may limit weight gain among overweight and obese men and women

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