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Volume: 38
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Index: December 2010
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doi: 10.3810/psm.2010.04.1761
The Physician and Sportsmedicine: Volume 38: No.1
The Interactive Effects of Metabolic Syndrome, Blood Pressure, and Mental Health in Worksite Employees
Jeffrey A. Capizzi, MA; George J. Allen, PhD; Donna Murphy, BS; And Linda S. Pescatello, PhD, FACSM
Abstract: Background Cardiovascular disease (CVD), CVD-related conditions, and mental health disorders are prevalent in the US workforce. We examined associations between metabolic syndrome (METS), blood pressure (BP), and mental health indicators in 1813 employees (25.4% women; 74.6% men) from a large manufacturing firm. Methods Employees participated in a health screen. Biometric measures were body mass index, waist circumference, BP, and fingerstick determinations of blood lipid-lipoproteins and glucose. Mental health was assessed with 5 self-reported questions regarding anger, depression, anxiety, and family and work stress. Multivariate analysis of covariance tested for differences in BP and mental health indicators in employees (370 employees with METS, and 1443 employees without). Results Participants were primarily middle-aged (44.8 ± 0.3 years), overweight (27.9 ± 0.1 kg/m2) men (n = 1352) and women (n = 461) with a resting BP of 122.5 ± 0.3 mm Hg and 79.8 ± 0.2 mm Hg, respectively. Diastolic BP (DBP) was found to be 5 mm Hg higher in men with METS compared with men who did not have METS. When questioned, men with higher DBP stated that they often experienced anxiety (n = 39; 91.0 ± 2 mm Hg) compared with men who reported they rarely experienced anxiety (n = 112; 86.2 ± 1.9 mm Hg) (P = 0.020). Similarly, systolic BP (SBP) tended to be 4 mm Hg higher in men with METS who stated they often experienced anxiety (n = 39; 138.9 ± 2 mm Hg) compared with men who reported they rarely experienced anxiety (n = 112; 134.5 ± 1.2 mm Hg) (P = 0.119). Diastolic BP tended to be 2 mm Hg higher among men with METS who stated they often experienced anger (n = 117; 89.4 ± 0.9 mm Hg) compared with those who indicated they rarely experienced anger (n = 157; 87.3 ± 0.8 mm Hg) (P = 0.086), and DBP was 3 mm Hg higher in men with METS who reported overwhelming work stress (n = 83; 89.7 ± 1.1 mm Hg) compared with those reporting little work stress (n = 79; 86.6 ± 1.2 mm Hg) (P = 0.176). In contrast, no associations were found between BP and mental health in men without METS, and in women, regardless of the presence or absence of METS (P > 0.05). Conclusions Men with METS who reported higher levels of anxiety, anger, and work stress had higher BP than men without METS, who also reported lower levels of these mental health indicators. The METS appeared to adversely interact with BP and mental health in men at this worksite. Our findings suggest worksite health promotion programs can improve the cardiometabolic and mental health profile of US employees.

Keywords: metabolic syndrome; hypertension; sympathetic nervous system; baroreflex

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