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Table 2 Summary of key themes emerging from the social-ecological framework of enquiry within the work setting, with references to health identity highlighted

From: “I love having a healthy lifestyle" – a qualitative study investigating body mass index trajectories from childhood to mid-adulthood

Social-ecological level Work-related factor Summary finding
Individual Physical activity Enduring or predominant active transport use, or a history of active transport use was more commonly referenced in the stable and decreasing groups.
Participants in the stable and decreasing groups talked about prioritising physical activity around work obligations more commonly than participants in the other BMI trajectory groups.
Among participants whose distinct “health identity” appeared to be influencing their health behaviours, reference to physical activity within and around work was common.
Stress Except from within the high increasing BMI trajectory group, there were several references made to work stress negatively affecting diet or the amount of physical activity conducted.
Alcohol consumption There were generally no differences across BMI trajectory groups regarding the discussion of work and alcohol, although reference to binge or regular drinking was more common among participants categorised as stable or decreasing.
Social Colleagues Generally appeared to have little influence across all BMI trajectory groups.
Reference to a distinct “health identity” as a reason why work colleagues were not influential was common in the stable and decreasing groups but not the other groups.
Environmental Workplace health promotion Generally appeared to have little influence across all BMI trajectory groups.
“Health identity” referred to in the stable group as a reason for lack of influence of workplace health promotion.
Field and type of work Working in or being educated in a health-related field as a positive influence on health behaviours was referred to in the stable and decreasing groups only. All participants who discussed this relationship also suggested that their positive health behaviours were influenced by their “health identity”.
Participants in the stable group more commonly referred to current and historical work roles that included physical activity.
Food culture Across all BMI trajectory groups, there was common reference to current or previous challenges associated with regular morning teas and the presence of vending machines or freely accessible sugary snacks.
No systematic differences were found between BMI trajectory groups for the type of foods bought for lunch. However, those in the stable and decreasing groups more commonly indicated that they brought a prepared lunch from home to work.