Posted by: richarlm | February 27, 2019

Stress and Weight


The following is a transcript of a Research That Matters piece on stress and weight. Listen to this segment and the rest of the show “The Heart: Past, Present and Future.”

Dr. Adam Goldstein: The next Research That Matters is actually about some issues relating to weight gain, but it’s actually this time tied to employment. What are we talking about?

Dr. Cam Coleman: So this was a study out of Sweden, a study of almost 4,000 people that looked at the relationship between stress on the job and changes in weight.

Dr. Adam Goldstein: We should back up by saying, we know from our own experience, in the training of being physicians, which can be stressful, and sometimes the eating can go two different ways, you might say you don’t have to eat, you might just say you don’t have time to exercise. You don’t have time to exercise you’re probably going to gain weight in that stress, and of course, if you don’t have time to eat, you may not gain weight but, in this particular one, they were looking at the men and women who really were looked at, their work pace, pressures they had at work, the time they had for their work and how many of the demands were kind of contradictory, you gotta work harder and faster, but oh, by the way, you don’t have much time. And they followed these men and women three times over twenty years.

Dr. Cam Coleman: I thought it was really interesting, they had almost 4,000 participants in the study, so a pretty hefty group. But the way that they measured stress was essentially asking these people, how do you feel are your job demands? So this was all self-reported data on levels of stress.

Dr. Adam Goldstein: And they found that the stress seemed to have this impact on the women that they, the higher, the women were actually more likely to gain weight. They didn’t see it in men, they didn’t have really good reasons for it. I think there’s a lot more to this story than just the high stress of work. There’s a lot more going on here that I don’t think they teased out.

Dr. Cam Coleman: And you know they speculated that why it is that women might be more sensitive to changes in weight as opposed to men. And one of the things that they mentioned in this article was some of the differences in gender roles that they found in their culture and expectations for the women to be spending more time at home. And so that’s certainly something that enters into the public conversation often, what should be the norms, what should be the expectations, and to what degree should men and women be really sharing some of this other work if that’s contributing to these weight changes.

Provided by librarians at the University of North Carolina Health Sciences Library.


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