FIFO workers battling the bulge

A small research project into the diets of men working at a FIFO mine site has found they were more overweight or obese than the average Australian.

The study centred around 35 men working at a remote site in Western Australia’s north-east, and collected data around their measurements and eating habits.

Edith Cowan University researcher Gemma Quayle said 83 per cent of the men were overweight and at risk of developing heart disease or type 2 diabetes, ABC reported.

Quayle said while the study was small, it may provide a ‘snapshot’ of worker health in the wider industry.

She said while mine sites were offering a range of healthy options, there were also “extra” foods which were not good choices.

"You walk into the mess and there are trays of fruit and salads, there are lots of healthy options, but there are also some not so healthy options," she said.

"Those 'extra' foods, things like pastries and desserts, were chosen more often than what we'd recommend for good health.

"There are also large amounts of food provided, and when large amounts of food are on offer it's often quite easy to over-consume."

Quayle said the fact workers are away from their friends and family for extended periods of time may also be a contributing factor.

"Meal times can be the main times for social interaction… I think for workers, with being away and working long hours, it could be quite difficult to make the healthy choice."

Quayle said more research needs to be conducted around FIFO workers’ relationship with food.

"There's quite limited research in this area. I guess the remoteness of the mine sites could be one reason for that.

"I'd like to investigate a more comprehensive sample of workers.

"More research is needed, particularly around the reasons for food choice, some of the barriers to choosing healthy foods and things we can do to support more healthy choices onsite."

She said to battle the bulge and stay healthy, workers should make simple changes like adding more salad and vegetables to their plates.

Image: Courier Mail

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