Recent studies reveal that high pressure at work might cause women to gain weight, irrespective of whether they have received an academic education or not. Researchers came to the conclusion after a study that included more than 3,800 people in Sweden. A study, published in the journal International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health, was based on the Västerbotten Intervention Program, a Swedish population-based study.
The women and men in the study were investigated on three occasions over a 20-year period with respect to such variables as body weight and demands and control at work. They were followed either from age 30 to 50 or from 40 to 60. The respondents were asked about their work pace, psychological pressures, whether there was enough time for their duties and how often the demands made were contradictory. A low degree of control in their work more frequently gained considerable weight, defined as a weight gain of 10% or more, in the course of the study. This applied to women and men alike.
However, long-term exposure to high job demands played a part only for women. In just over half of the women who had been subjected to high demands, a major increase in weight took place over the 20 years. This gain in weight was some 20 percent higher than in women subject to low job demands. Having had or not had an academic education does not explain the associations in the study. Neither does the quality of diet or other lifestyle factors. However, the information about dietary intake comes from the respondents themselves, with a certain risk of incorrect reporting.