Health, lifestyle and occupational risks in Information Technology workers

Lalloo, D., Lewsey, J. , Katikireddi, V. , MacDonald, E. and Demou, E. (2021) Health, lifestyle and occupational risks in Information Technology workers. Occupational Medicine, 71(2), pp. 68-74. (doi: 10.1093/occmed/kqaa222) (PMID:33515462) (PMCID:PMC8034523)

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Background: Information technology (IT) and the IT workforce are rapidly expanding with potential occupational health implications. But to date, IT worker health is under-studied and large-scale studies are lacking. Aims: To investigate health, lifestyle and occupational risk factors of IT workers. Methods: We evaluated self-reported health, lifestyle and occupational risk factors for IT workers in the UK Biobank database. Using logistic regression, we investigated differences between IT workers and all other employed participants. Regression models were repeated for IT worker subgroups (managers, professionals, technicians) and their respective counterparts within the same Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) major group (functional managers, science and technology professionals, science and technology associate professionals). Results: Overall, 10 931 (4%) employed participants were IT workers. Compared to all other employed participants, IT workers reported similar overall health, but lower lifestyle risk factors for smoking and obesity. Sedentary work was a substantially higher occupational exposure risk for IT workers compared to all other employed participants (odds ratio [OR] = 5.14, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 4.91–5.39) and their specific SOC group counterparts (managers: OR = 1.83, 95% CI: 1.68–1.99, professionals: OR = 7.18, 95% CI: 6.58–7.82, technicians: OR = 4.48, 95% CI: 3.87–5.17). IT workers were also more likely to engage in computer screen-time outside work than all other employed participants (OR = 1.42, 95% CI: 1.35–1.51). Conclusions: Improved understanding of health, lifestyle and occupational risk factors from this, the largest to date study of IT worker health, can help inform workplace interventions to mitigate risk, improve health and increase the work participation of this increasingly important and rapidly growing occupational group.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:Information technology, computer professionals, occupational health, behaviours, lifestyle, UK Biobank.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Demou, Dr Evangelia and Lewsey, Professor Jim and Katikireddi, Professor Vittal and MacDonald, Professor Ewan and Lalloo, Professor Drushca
Authors: Lalloo, D., Lewsey, J., Katikireddi, V., MacDonald, E., and Demou, E.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > Health Economics and Health Technology Assessment
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > MRC/CSO SPHSU
Journal Name:Occupational Medicine
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN (Online):1471-8405
Published Online:30 January 2021
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2021 The Authors
First Published:First published in Occupational Medicine 71(2): 68-74
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons license

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
72765SPHSU Core Renewal: Measuring and Analysing Socioeconomic Inequalities in Health Research ProgrammeAlastair LeylandMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_12017/13IHW - MRC/CSO SPHU
Chief Scientist Office (CSO)SPHSU13
168560MRC SPHSU/GU Transfer FellowshipsLaurence MooreMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_PC_13027HW - MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit
172690Understanding the impacts of welfare policy on health: A novel data linkage studySrinivasa KatikireddiChief Scientist Office (CSO)SCAF/15/02HW - Public Health