Functional limitations and occupational issues in obesity: A review

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Four hundred million adults are obese. Such a pandemic involves people of working age. Excess weight imposes abnormal mechanics on body movements, which could account for the high incidence of musculoskeletal disorders in these subjects. This article reviews the physiological and biomechanical causes of the reduced work capacity in obese workers and speculates on the relationships between occupational exposure and obesity. The reduction in work capacity appears to be due to the following factors: reduced spine flexibility, decay in endurance, limited range of movement of the major joints, reduced muscle strength and capacity to hold prolonged fixed postures, impaired respiratory capacity and visual control. Work capacity in morbidly obese workers should always be evaluated to match specific job demands. Due to the relationship between obesity, musculoskeletal disorders, disability and health costs, prevention of obesity and ergonomic interventions on-site are a priority in the work place.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)507-523
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Occupational Safety and Ergonomics
Volume16
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Keywords

  • Functional limitations
  • Musculoskeletal disorders
  • Obesity
  • Physical work capacity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Safety Research

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