June 16, 2016
Rebecca J. Boulos, M.P.H., Ph.D., assistant clinical professor in the University of New England’s School of Community and Population Health, co-authored an article in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine titled, “Occupational Physical Activity and Weight-Related Outcomes in Immigrant Mothers.”
Occupations that require physical activity, such as domestic workers or food service staff, have the potential to increase employees’ daily total physical activity. However, these occupations may also place workers at risk for adverse health outcomes, such as overuse injuries and mental health illness. New immigrants to the U.S. are likely to be employed in such occupations and relationships between occupational physical activity, weight-related behaviors, obesity and depression are underexplored in this population.
In this study, data was collected from immigrant women from three ethnic groups. Findings demonstrate that occupational physical activity contributes to energy expenditure and may protect against obesity among new immigrant mothers; however, it is also associated with high depressive symptoms. More specifically, women in the highest quartile of occupational physical activity, versus the lowest, had 65% lower odds of obesity; yet, they had approximately twice the odds of presenting high depressive symptoms. Therefore, the implications of occupational physical activity for physical and psychosocial well-being are mixed and require further exploration.
Boulos co-authored the article with colleagues from Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy: Sarah A. Sliwa, Ph.D.; Aviva Must, Ph.D., Flavia Perea, Ph.D., and Christina D. Economos, Ph.D.
To learn more about the University of New England’s Westbrook College of Health Professions visit www.une.edu/wchp
To apply, visit www.une.edu/admissions