Background

Few studies exist on overweight and obesity in health care workers (HCWs) in The Bahamas. This study's aim was to determine the knowledge of overweight and obesity, attitudes, healthy lifestyle practices and intentions of HCWs toward their body mass index (BMI).

Methods

Using a cross-sectional study design, 163 HCWs of 8 community clinics were surveyed. Participants completed questionnaires capturing information on demographics, co-morbidities, knowledge of overweight, obesity, healthy lifestyle practices, attitudes and intentions concerning their BMI. Weight, height and abdominal circumferences were measured.

Results

The 163 participants' mean (±SD) age was 44 (±11.1) years, 157 (96.4%) were Bahamian, 68 (41.7%) were married and 150 (92.0%) were female. The mean (±SD) BMI of participants was 32.8 (±8.2) kg/m2. Mean BMI of females was 32.5 (±0.7) kg/m2; 40 (26.7%) overweight and 81 (54.0%) obese. Male HCWs' mean BMI was 35.3 (±2.8) kg/m2; 3 (23.1%) overweight and 9 (69.2%) obese. HCWs were grouped into three main categories: 13 (8.0%) physicians, 67 (41.1%) nurses and 50.9% (83) otherHCWs. The median correct knowledge score was 62.0% and differed by occupational categories: physicians scored 75.0%, nurses 66.7%, other HCWs 50.9% (p<0.001). Daily intake: ≥ 2 fruits: 34 (21.0%); ≥ 3 vegetables: 15 (9.3%); 7 - 8 glasses of water: 48 (29.4%). Meeting recommended guidelines for moderate or vigorous physical activity: 40 (24.5%) and 34 (20.9%) respectively. 139 (85.3%) HCWs had weight concerns, 67 (48.2%) were in a planning phase of change, 67 (48.2%) were in an action phase and 5 (3.6%) were not ready to change. 147 (90.7%) participants expressed a greater willingness to participate in a workplace healthy lifestyle program; mean wellness inclination score (min. 5, max. 19) was 15.3 (±3.8) or 80.5%.

Conclusions

Despite adequate knowledge and willingness to participate in a workplace healthy lifestyle program, most HCWs in The Bahamas need to practice healthier lifestyles.