Excess weight in regular aviation pilots associated with work and sleep characteristics


Objective: To identify the prevalence and associated factors of overweight and obesity in Brazilian commercial airline pilots. Methods An observational, cross-sectional study involving 1198 Brazilian commercial airline pilots with a sampling power > 80% (ß=20%) and confidence level of 95% (α=5%) was carried out. The pilots completed an on-line questionnaire collecting data on sociodemographics, work, health, lifestyle and sleep. Poisson regression, with robust variance (stepwise forward technique), was employed to analyze the factors associated with excess weight (overweight and obesity). The models were adjusted for the variables age, marital status and education. The data were analyzed using the STATA 12.0 program. Results: The prevalence of overweight among the pilots was 53.7% and of obesity was 14.6%. The probability of being overweight was highest among pilots working night shifts for 6–10 years and that had difficulty relaxing after work, where perceived morningness was a protective factor. Risk factors for obesity included working night-shifts for 6–10 years, having difficulty relaxing after work, sleeping < 6 h on days off, having other diagnosed diseases, and practicing < 150 min/week of physical exercise. Conclusion: It was concluded that the prevalence of overweight and obesity among the commercial airline pilots was high and represents a public health problem in this population. Excess weight was associated with time working night-shifts, difficulty relaxing after work, inadequate sleep on days off, having other chronic diseases, and physical inactivity. In this context, nutritional status can be regarded as the result of dynamic and complex interactions promoted by occupational, sleep and health factors.

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