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Year : 2006  |  Volume : 52  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 172-173

The interesting concept of applying the WHO STEPS data collection approach to the industrial setting


Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Toronto, Toronto, Department of Epidemiology and Community Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Correspondence Address:
BCK Choi
Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Toronto, Toronto, Department of Epidemiology and Community Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario
Canada
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


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How to cite this article:
Choi B. The interesting concept of applying the WHO STEPS data collection approach to the industrial setting. J Postgrad Med 2006;52:172-3

How to cite this URL:
Choi B. The interesting concept of applying the WHO STEPS data collection approach to the industrial setting. J Postgrad Med [serial online] 2006 [cited 2020 Feb 19];52:172-3. Available from: http://www.jpgmonline.com/text.asp?2006/52/3/172/26545


The World Health Organization (WHO) for years has been promoting a STEP wise approach (STEPS) to chronic disease risk factor surveillance.[1] The STEPS approach involves data collection in 3 steps: using a questionnaire (step 1); then moving to simple physical measurements (step 2); and then recommending the collection of blood samples for biochemical assessment (step 3).[2]

This paper,[3] by applying the WHO STEPS approach to an industrial setting, is an interesting concept that may lead to some significant progress in occupational health research. Too often occupational health research has concentrated on studying the health effects of only industrial exposures, while neglecting the health effects from non-occupational behavioural risk factors. Using data from STEPS in combination with occupational exposure data can be a worthwhile effort to better advance chronic disease prevention and control in the workplace.

Because of the cost in step 3, this paper recommends biochemical assessment only for individuals "at risk" (defined as having more than 3 risk factors in steps 1 and 2).[3] The number of risk factors, instead of the actual risk factors, is increasingly being used in public health to measure chronic disease risks.[4],[5]

The study found that the risk factor profile of the workers from step 1 included: low intake of fruits and vegetables (<500 g/day) (100%); tobacco use (any form) (31%); physical inactivity (sedentary throughout the day) (17%), and alcohol use (5%); and from step 2: sub-optimal blood pressure (>120/80) (66%), and elevated body mass index (>23) (65%). Among the 34% of the workers who were "at risk" (more than 3 risk factors), their biochemical risk factor profile from step 3 was: high blood cholesterol (>190 mg/dl) (41%) and diabetes (fasting blood sugar >125 mg/dl) (19%).

The suboptimal intake of fruits and vegetables is remarkable, especially given that the majority (91%) of the workers are vegetarians. In fact their mean fruit and vegetable consumption was only 190 g (fewer than 2 servings) per day. Other data on non-occupational risk factors, for example, 61% of the workers were engaged in long hours in a sedentary office environment, and 73% had a high waist to hip ratio (>0.9), can influence the attribution of chronic diseases to industrial exposures.

It is expected that applying the WHO STEPS approach to occupational health studies will bear fruits. However, it is a pity that only 56% of the workers "at risk" of chronic diseases agreed to give blood samples for biochemical assessments.

 
 :: References Top

1.Bonita R, de Courten M, Dwyer T, Jamrozik K, Windelmann R. Surveillance of risk factors for noncommunicable diseases: the WHO STEPwise approach. Summary. World Health Organization: Geneva; 2001.  Back to cited text no. 1    
2.World Health Organization (WHO). STEP wise approach to surveillance (STEPS). Available from: URL: http://www.who.int/chp/steps/en/ (accessed 2006 May 1).  Back to cited text no. 2    
3.Mehan MB, Srivastava N, Pandya H. Profile of non-communicable disease (NCD) risk factors in an industrial setting. J Postgrad Med 2006;52:167-73 .   Back to cited text no. 3    
4.Klein-Geltink JE, Choi BC, Fry RN. Multiple exposures to smoking, alcohol, physical inactivity and overweight: Prevalence according to the Canadian Community Health Survey Cycle 1.1. Chron Dis Can 2006;27:25-33.  Back to cited text no. 4  [PUBMED]  
5.Fine LJ, Philogene GS, Gramling R, Coups EJ, Sinha S. Prevalence of multiple chronic disease risk factors: 2001 National Health Interview Survey. Am J Prev Med 2004;27:18-24.  Back to cited text no. 5  [PUBMED]  [FULLTEXT]



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Choi BCK
JOURNAL OF POSTGRADUATE MEDICINE. 2006; 52 (4): 325-325
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Online since 12th February '04
2004 - Journal of Postgraduate Medicine
Official Publication of the Staff Society of the Seth GS Medical College and KEM Hospital, Mumbai, India
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