Image: Media Ltd

New research has found a link between our jobs and our waistline.

According to researchers in Australia, people whose work days require constant decision-making are at greater risk of expanded waistlines compared to their counterparts.

Conversely, workers who exercised control by regularly applying their skills to their jobs — known as skill discretion — were found to have lower BMI and a smaller waist size.

Skill discretion is measured by factors such as the development of new skills, task variety, creativity and learning new things.

The overarching conclusion from the study, published in the journal Social Science and Medicine, suggests that the two aspects of job control — decision-making and the application of skills — should be treated separately when evaluating levels of job stress and health.

“Many people point to ‘eating too much and not moving enough’ as the cause of obesity,” said lead author Mr. Christopher Bean.

“While this might explain how weight gain often happens, it does not acknowledge things such as environmental, psychological, social or cultural factors — these are some of the important why reasons that obesity happens.”

For the study, researchers from University of Adelaide, Central Queensland University and the University of South Australia analyzed data from 450 middle-aged participants who worked in both blue and white-collar positions.

Along with health data (height, weight, waist circumference), participants provided information on the psychosocial qualities of their work.

The results show the nature of people’s jobs and authority had different effects on their weight.