November 28, 2018

9:00pm – 10:00pm

UCLA Center for Health Sciences, CHS 43-105

The Impact of Workplace Environment on the Obesity Epidemic:
The Problem and the Solution

Pouran Faghri, M.S., M.D., F.A.C.S.M.
Professor, Departments of Allied Health Sciences, Community Medicine & Health Care and Biomedical Engineering, University of Connecticut; Visiting Scholar, UCLA EHS and COEH

About the lecture: Working conditions impact a person’s physical, mental and social well-being. The risk of obesity may increase for people working in high demand, low-control work environments, as well for those who work long hours and shift work. Physical, psychosocial and emotional stress in high demands jobs may encourage unhealthy behavior and affect employees’ eating habits, sleep and physical activity patterns. Evidently, workers’ well-being and workplace health are related and should not be examined separately. Integration of health protection addressing occupational risk with health promotion that encourage individual behavior change to reduce the risk of obesity need attention. The NIOSH “Total Worker Health” is an integrated approach that provides opportunities to protect employees from workplace hazards and promote employees’ health by targeting working conditions. This presentation will (i) examine the role of workplace environment as both a contributor of obesity and a potential remedy for treating obesity, (ii) offer results from a participatory and integrated obesity intervention program using a “Total Worker Health” approach, and (iii) discuss the important role occupational health and safety professionals can play in creating a “culture of health” at the workplace by providing workers with the knowledge and skills necessary to engage in healthy behavior, while addressing the issues underlying physical and psychosocial workplace hazards.

About the speaker: Dr. Pouran Faghri is a Professor in the Department of Allied Health Sciences and Director of the Center for Environmental Health and Promotion the University of Connecticut. She has joint appointments as a professor with the Department of Biomedical Engineering, School of Engineering, as well as the Department of Community Medicine and Health Care, UConn School of Medicine. Professor Faghri has dedicated her career to promoting health and preventing diseases. Her expertise includes the evaluation of workplace psychosocial risk factors and environmental exposures as they relate to the development of chronic musculoskeletal, cardiovascular and other chronic diseases, including obesity and type 2 diabetes. Over the years, she has developed and evaluated multiple models for integrating health promotion with workplace injury prevention and occupational ergonomics for health protection, with a strong emphasis on employee involvement through self-care and self-awareness. She has developed and directed many workplace health interventions for private and state agencies, as well as Connecticut’s state employee worksite health promotion program, “ConnectiFIT .” For the past 12 years, she has been the Co-PI (Storrs) for the NIOSH Center of Excellence for “Total Worker Health”: Center for the Promotion of Health in the New England Workplace (CPH-NEW).

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