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Obesity Might Slow You Down at Work
Date:8/1/2014

By
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Aug. 1, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- People who are obese and work in manufacturing jobs may have significantly less endurance than those who weigh less, a new research suggests.

In a study of 32 people -- half were obese, half were of normal weight -- people who were not obese had endurance times that were about 60 percent longer. Obesity also was associated with less strength, increased discomfort and declines in task performance.

Being older -- 50 to 65 years of age -- neither improved nor reduced a person's ability to perform tasks based on weight.

The research suggests that ergonomic guidelines for today's workplace are probably not effective in a society that, by and large, has a wider waistline, said Lora Cavuoto, lead author of the study, and assistant professor in the department of industrial and systems engineering at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York.

"We have been relying on models that have been around 40 to 50 years, based on a normal population, and they don't take obesity-related requirements into account," said Cavuoto. "The differences in endurance that we found were significant because we use endurance a lot in defining work and determining how much rest people will need."

When it comes to having less endurance, it is unclear which comes first: difficulty moving and exercising -- which can contribute to significant weight gain -- or obesity, which tends to reduce one's ability to be active, noted Cavuoto. "We can't prove causality in the study; we're just saying there is a relationship between the two.

Worldwide, there are more than 1.5 billion adults who are classified as overweight, and the prevalence of obesity has more than doubled over the past 30 years, according to the
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