Women's Occupations, Energy Expenditure, and Cardiovascular Risk Factors
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The purpose of this study was to examine the cardiovascular risk factors and energy expenditure of women from occupations that differ by physical activity level and socioeconomic level. Participants included 171 women randomly selected from employee lists at 10 employment sites. Measures included blood pressure, body mass index, levels of total and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, a submaximal aerobic fitness test on a bicycle ergometer, and a 12-month retrospective self-report of occupational, leisure time, and household energy expenditure. Women in active occupations had lower total cholesterol and higher HDL cholesterol than women in sedentary occupations. Women with higher occupational energy expenditure scores had higher HDL cholesterol and lower total cholesterol than women with lower occupational energy scores. Findings suggest that cardiovascular benefits, particularly for lipid profiles, may be derived from even small increases in occupational physical activity. The workplace may offer an environment for initiating policies to facilitate increased physical activity among women.
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