BACKGROUND: Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms encountered in medical practice. However, little is known about the causal relationship between change in lifestyle and fatigue. AIM: To help prevent fatigue-related disorders, we investigated the association between changes in lifestyle and fatigue among employees. METHODS: We studied data sets from the High-risk and Population Strategy for Occupational Health Promotion study for employees at 10 workplaces in Japan. The baseline survey was done in 1999 and the follow-up survey in 2003 via a questionnaire which examined lifestyle and fatigue variables using the vitality domain scale of the SF-36 Health Survey. The lifestyle factors focused on were diet, smoking and alcohol habits and working conditions. Four-year changes in lifestyle that predicted the vitality domain score in the follow-up survey were examined by analysis of covariance RESULTS: Of the 6284 participants in the baseline survey, 4507 replied to the follow-up survey, of whom 3498, with a mean age of 37 (SD 18) years, returned valid responses. A low vitality score at follow-up was predicted by a change in lifestyle factors such as an increase in overtime work, change to non-sedentary work and increased frequency of eating between meals (P < 0.01, P < 0.01 and P = 0.02, respectively). CONCLUSION: Fatigue in salaried workers as measured by the vitality domain of the SF-36 is predicted by an increase in overtime work, change to non-sedentary work and an increase in the frequency of eating between meals.
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