Health risk factors and occupation among Iowa workers

Hyesook Park, Nancy L. Sprince, Christine Jensen, Paul Whitten, Craig Zwerling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Background: Health behaviors represent major risks for premature morbidity and mortality. This study aimed to establish whether health risks varied substantially across occupational groups. Methods: We focused on the 2223 Iowa Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) subjects who reported, in 1999, that they were currently working. Results: Even after controlling for age and gender, we found significant associations between occupation and health risk factors. We found these associations among the different categories of health risk factors, including insurance/access, health conditions, preventive behaviors, and screening behaviors. Conclusions: The considerable differences in the prevalence of risk factors for chronic disease and injury across occupational groups in Iowa underscore the need for nationwide ongoing collection of occupational status in the BRFSS. These national data on the distribution of risk factors across occupations will support development of more targeted prevention interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-208
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Preventive Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2001

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The 1999 Iowa BRFSS survey was carried out by the University of Northern Iowa under contract to the Iowa Department of Public Health and funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Iowa, the 1999 BRFSS sampled households with telephones using a disproportionate stratified sampling method. From 19 January to 9 December 1999, a total of 3620 adults completed the telephone interview survey. They represented 72% of those contacted who were eligible to participate. We excluded subjects who had missing or uncodable data on occupation. This report focuses on the 2223 respondents, excluding military personnel who were working in the military at the time of the interview.

Funding Information:
We are grateful to Gene Lutz, PhD, of the Center for Social and Behavioral Research at the University of Northern Iowa, who supervised the collection of the 1999 Iowa BRFSS data and advised us on its use. This work was funded in part by a grant from National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (R49CCR703640-10).


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