Objectives: Providing different programs of occupational health services in the same company is difficult. We report the results of a parallel randomized trial for the employees of our company for visceral fat measurements and the effect of a weight loss support web system. Materials and Methods: 181 healthy employees with BMI over 23 who volunteered to participate in this study. In a parallel randomized study, we divided them into 3 groups (A, health guidance by occupational health staff with visceral fat measurements and a weight loss support web system; B, health guidance by occupational health staff with a weight loss support web system; C, without health guidance (control)) by date of birth. To assess the effects of guidance and support, we compared each group’s waist circumference (WC), weight, and BMI, before and after the guidance. We also conducted questionnaire surveys of eating behavior and life activities before and after the guidance to estimate the relationship between the intervention method used for each group and their behavioral modification. Results: 150 employees (83%) finished this program. Within 3 months, reduction in the outcome measures was largest in group A, and showed significant differences from the other two groups. For many employees in group A, eating behavior factors improved markedly; however, in the control group, there were no changes in eating behavior or daily living activities. Conclusions: A parallel randomized trial involving the employees of our company was performed and we scientifically verified the effects of an occupational health programs. Objective study of occupational health activities and measures were enabled by devising methods and procedures, e.g., applying the waiting-list method for the control group. This approach will lead to appropriate selection and precise implementation of evidence-based measures in occupational health in the future.
Objective: To examine the factors related to fatigue accumulation by irregular shift workers after the late-night shift. Method: We studied employees of a company in the transportation industry in Fukushima prefecture. The company transports passengers, and many employees, including the crew, engage in irregular shift work. We performed the investigation by using a self-administered questionnaire which was sent to 89 employees in October, 2011. Of the 89 who were given the survey, 84 replied, and 52 of those employees had worked the late-night shift (straddling midnight) at least once during September. In answer to the question “How long does it take you to recover after working the late-night-shift?” choices were “I don’t feel tired “, “I recover the next day”, “I recover in two or three days”, and “It takes more than three days”. We classified the choices into two groups of: 1) “I don’t feel tired” and “I recover the next day”, and 2) “I recover in two or three days” and “It takes more than three days”. Other questions were asked about age, BMI, weekday average duration of sleep, whether or not a nap was taken before the late-night shift, risk of lifestyle-related diseases (hypertension, dyslipidemia, and diabetes), awareness of life stress accumulation, and exercise habits. Results: Thirty-two employees answered that they recovered from the late-night shift by the next day, whereas 20 employees answered that it took more than 2 days to recover after the late-night-shift. The group who answered that recovery time after the late-night shift took more than 2 days significantly (p=0.035) felt that their stress management was insufficient. Age, BMI, weekday average duration of sleep, whether or not a nap was taken before the late-night shifts, risk of lifestyle-related diseases, and exercise habits showed no significant association with fatigue accumulation. The group who answered that their stress management was insufficient significantly chose liquor (p=0.045) and cigarettes (p=0.030) for stress reduction. Discussion: In this study, a relationship was recognized between degree of awareness of daily stress relief and fatigue recovery period. In addition, various means of stress relief had different effects, suggesting the need for individualized mental health care.
Objectives: Specific Health Examinations and Guidance (Tokutei kenko shinsa/Tokutei hoken shido) are provided for people over 40 years of age to reduce the incidence of metabolic syndrome (MetS). In the present study, we evaluated the importance of weight control in people below 40 years of age. Methods: Male subjects (n=877), aged 30 years, without MetS, were examined. Subjects were classified into 3 groups based on body mass index (BMI): non-obese (BMI<22), pre-obese (22≤BMI<25), and obese (BMI≥25). Cox proportional hazards regression analysis was performed for each group to calculate the hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for the incidence of MetS in individuals in their 40s on the basis of changes in their BMI, systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, fasting plasma glucose, high-density lipoprotein, and triglyceride levels between 30 and 35 years of age. In addition, subjects were classified into 3 sub-groups based on changes in BMI: stable-decrease (BMI change<1), slight increase (1≤BMI increase<2), and increase (2≤BMI increase). HRs for the 3 BMI change sub-groups for MetS were calculated for non-obese and pre-obese subjects. Results: There was a significant association between changes in BMI and the incidence of MetS for non-obese individuals in their 40s (HR: 2.80, 95% CI: 1.61–4.88) and pre-obese subjects (HR: 2.00, 95% CI: 1.44–2.77). There were also significant associations between the stable/decrease and increase (HR: 9.39, 95% CI: 1.52–57.70) sub-groups and MetS in the non-obese group, as well as for the slight increase (HR: 2.30, 95% CI: 1.03–5.11) and increase (HR: 10.13, 95% CI: 4.30–23.80) sub-groups in the pre-obese group. Conclusions: BMI change in young adults is an important risk factor for MetS among individuals in their 40s. Even subjects with a BMI lower than 25 had differences in the risk of developing MetS based on their BMI change sub-group. In the field of occupational health, it will be necessary to promote stable weight control in young adults to reduce the incidence of MetS.
Objectives: Most sleep scales assess sleep quantity (e.g., sleep duration and daytime sleepiness) or sleep quality (e.g., sleep latency and maintenance); the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) is an exceptional example. However, the prevalence of 24-hour operations presents the need for a scale that can also measure sleep phase (e.g., sleep onset and offset). Furthermore, we have to assess the phase, quality and quantity respectively to understand which of them has a problem. Thus, the 3 Dimensional Sleep Scale (3DSS) – day workers version – was developed to assess each of them related to sleep, and this study attempted to verify its reliability and validity. Methods: Subjects were 635 day workers (461 men, 174 women; average age = 40.5 years) from the manufacturing and service industries. A scale was created based on a pre-study and discussions with specialists. The scale consisted of 17 sleep-related items. The skew of the data was assessed, and the construct validity and reliability were verified using exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis and Cronbach’s alpha, respectively. The scale was scored and G-P analysis was performed. The items measuring phase, quality, and quantity of sleep were selected from the PSQI and SDS, and their correlation with the three scales of 3DSS were measured to verify the convergent and discriminant validity. In addition, the total scores obtained on the PSQI were compared with each scale of the 3DSS. Results: No skew was found in the data. Exploratory factor analysis revealed a three-factor structure—quality, quantity, and phase. Each factor consisted of five items, therefore two items were excluded. The fitness of the 15-item model was better than that of the 17-item model according to confirmatory factor analysis. Cronbach’s alpha for phase, quality and quantity score were 0.685, 0.768 and 0.716, respectively. The hypothesis tests were almost accepted, therefore convergent and discriminant validity were sufficiently established. Conclusions: The present study established the reliability and validity of the 3DSS; however, further studies using larger samples are needed to standardize the test and to establish a cut-off value.
Background:It is well-known that health education programs carried out in the work place are useful for employees’ health promotion. However, the effectiveness of group health education programs for workers as a population approach is unclear. Objective: The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of a group health education program in the workplace, and to investigate educational methods which support workers modifying their health behaviors. Methods: A total of 289 workers who received a group health education program in the manufacturing industry (mean age, 42.1±11.3 years old; 175 males and 114 females) were enrolled in this study. The group health education program was carried out to educate the subjects about periodontitis, oral health actions and lifestyle behaviors to prevent oral diseases. Participants were required to fill out a self-administered questionnaire which included information about oral health knowledge, oral health actions, lifestyle behaviors and symptoms of periodontitis before, immediately after and one month after the education. We used McNemar’s test for the paired comparison of questionnaire responses. The relation between acquiring knowledge about periodontitis and subjects’ modification of oral health action, behavior modification and symptoms of periodontitis were examined using the chi-squared test. The relationships of knowledge retention about periodontitis, the modification of the oral health actions and lifestyle behaviors (i.e., cigarette smoking, alcohol drinking and eating between meals), were examined with participants’ characteristics (i.e., age, gender and occupational category) using Fisher’s exact test. Results: Knowledge about periodontitis significantly improved immediately after receiving the health education, and this effect of education was evident one month later. However, not all of the knowledge was sufficiently retained one month after the education session. The proportion of participants undertaking desirable oral health actions significantly increased one month after the education, whereas lifestyle behaviors did not alter. The modification of oral health actions improved periodontitis-related symptoms, however, no relationship was found between knowledge acquisition and behavior modification. The characteristics of the participants did not influence knowledge retention about periodontitis or modification of oral health actions. Conclusions: Our group health education program was appropriate and effective at providing knowledge about periodontitis and at modifying oral health actions. We should identify factors that obstruct workers behavior modification, and eliminate them to improve health behaviors.
Objectives: There is limited information about the sense of coherence (SOC), stress reactions and the relationship between SOC and stress reactions in male nurses. The aim of this survey was to clarify SOC, stress reactions, and the relationship of SOC with stress reactions in male nurses working in a hospital. Methods: Fifty-one male and 51 female nurses took part in a questionnaire survey. Each female subject was matched with a male of the same age (within 1 year), qualifications (nurse only or both nurse and public health nurse), and work place (internal medicine ward, surgery ward or others). The question items were basic attributes, SOC, Brief Job Stress Questionnaire and Brief Scales for Coping Profile (BSCP). To examine the relationship between the SOC and stress reactions, a multiple regression analysis was performed with psychological or somatic symptoms, as the dependent variable. Results: The median age of male nurses was 27 (interquartile range: 24–30) years. The median length of their working career was 4 (2–7) years. There were no gender differences in the total scores of SOC. Among the stressors, the conditions of mental demand were better in male nurses, but the conditions of stress by workplace environment were worse than in female nurses. Depressive mood, one of the stress reactions, was worse in male nurses. Support from supervisors and coworkers that had an effect on stress reactions were weaker in male nurses than in female nurses. In the subscales of BSCP, “emotional expression to others” and “avoidance and suppression” were more often used by male nurses, but “seeking help for a solution to problems” was less frequently used by them than by female nurses. There were significant relationships between the total score of SOC and psychological and somatic symptoms in both sexes, even when adjusted for 9 stressor factors, 4 factors that had an effect on stress reactions, and 6 subscales of the BSCP and age. The sense of manageability, one of the subscales of SOC, showed significant relationships with psychological and somatic symptoms only in male nurses. Conclusions: The SOC showed no sex difference. The depressive reaction was stronger in male nurses. The relationship of the subscale of SOC to psychological and somatic symptoms showed a gender difference, although the total scores of SOC showed similar tendencies in both sexes.