“Over the last few decades, there has been an increase in the number of Americans working in precarious jobs – we see this with the rise of the ‘gig’ economy, or the number of people working for ride-sharing companies, for example. Millions of Americans are now working in precarious jobs, and we believe that this type of employment is harmful to health. we need to pay more attention to its effects,” said study author Vanessa Oddo, a professor of kinesiology and nutrition in the UIC College of Applied Health Sciences.

To understand the impact of hazardous work on BMI, researchers analyzed 20 years of data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Young Adults Cohort (1996-2016). The average age of the participants was 44.

Aspects of Employment Evaluation

They looked at seven dimensions of precarious employment—material rewards, work time regulation, employment stability, and collective organization, for example—and identified 13 self-report survey indicators of precarious employment. Computational and statistical models were used to compare these indicators with BMI, a crude indicator of obesity.

Effect of safe work on weight

Precarious employment rates were highest among Latina and Black women with less education. A 1-point increase in secure employment was associated with a 2.18-point increase in BMI.


“Given that small changes in weight affect chronic disease risk, these modest changes in BMI may have important population-level effects,” the researchers say.

“Policies and workplace interventions to improve employment quality should be considered to protect American workers and reduce the growing burden of obesity-related chronic disease in the United States,” the authors write.


  1. Dangerous work associated with high BMI – (https:today.uic.edu/precarious-work-associated-with-high-bmi/)

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