Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Shape change and obesity prevalence among male UK offshore workers after 30 years: new insight from a 3D scanning study.

Stewart, Arthur D.; Ledingham, Robert L.; Furnace, Graham; Williams, Hector; Nevill, Alan M.


Arthur D. Stewart

Robert L. Ledingham

Graham Furnace

Hector Williams

Alan M. Nevill


In 1984, male UK offshore workers had higher fat content and greater overweight- and obesity prevalence than the general population. Since then, body weight has increased by 19%, but - without accompanying anthropometric measures - their size increase, current obesity, and fatness prevalence remain unknown. This study therefore aimed to acquire contemporary anthropometric data, to profile changes since the original survey, and to assess current obesity prevalence in the male offshore workforce. A total of 588 men, recruited via quota sampling to match the workforce weight profile, underwent stature, weight, and 3D photonic scanning measurements from which anatomical girths were extracted, enabling computation of body mass index (BMI), total fat, and visceral adipose tissue (VAT). On average, UK male offshore workers are now 8.1 years older, 3.1 cm taller, 13.9 kg heavier, and have greater girths than in 1984, which are > 97% attributable to increased weight, and < 3% to age difference. Mean BMI increased significantly from 24.9 to 28.1 kg/m2 and - of the contemporary sample - 18% have healthy weight, 52% are overweight, and 30% obese, representing an increase in overweight and obesity prevalence by 6% and 24%, respectively. Waist cutoffs identify 39% of the contemporary sample as healthy, 27% at increased health risk, and 34% at high risk. In conclusion, UK offshore workers today have higher BMI than Scottish men, although some muscular individuals may be misclassified by BMI. Girth data, particularly at the waist, where dimensional increase was greatest, together with predictions of total and visceral fatness, suggest less favorable health status in others.


STEWART, A.D., LEDINGHAM, R.L., FURNACE, G., WILLIAMS, H. and NEVILL, A.M. 2017. Shape change and obesity prevalence among male UK offshore workers after 30 years: new insight from a 3D scanning study. American journal of human biology [online], 29(4), article ID e22992. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 12, 2017
Online Publication Date Mar 2, 2017
Publication Date Aug 31, 2017
Deposit Date Aug 28, 2017
Publicly Available Date Mar 3, 2018
Journal American journal of human biology
Print ISSN 1042-0533
Electronic ISSN 1520-6300
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 29
Issue 4
Article Number e22992
Keywords Body shape; 3D scanning; Offshore workers; Fatness; Obesity
Public URL


You might also like

Downloadable Citations