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The Prevalence of Cardiometabolic Health Risk Factors among Airline Pilots: A Systematic Review

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posted on 2022-05-18, 06:50 authored by Daniel Wilson, Matthew DrillerMatthew Driller, Ben Johnston, Nicholas Gill
Background: The occupational demands of professional airline pilots such as shift work, work schedule irregularities, sleep disruption, fatigue, physical inactivity, and psychological stress may promote adverse outcomes to cardiometabolic health. This review investigates the prevalence of cardiometabolic health risk factors for airline pilots. Methods: An electronic search was conducted utilizing PubMed, MEDLINE (via OvidSP), CINAHL, PsycINFO, SPORTDiscus, CENTRAL, and Web of Science for publications between 1990 and February 2022. The methodological quality of included studies was assessed using two quality assessment tools for cross-sectional and clinical trial studies. The prevalence of physiological, behavioral, and psychological risk factors was reported using descriptive analysis. Results: A total of 48 studies derived from 20 different countries, reviewing a total pooled sample of 36,958 airline pilots. Compared with general population estimates, pilots had a similar prevalence for health risk factors, yet higher sleep duration, lower smoking and obesity rates, less physical activity, and a higher overall rate of body mass index >25. Conclusions: The research reported substantial prevalence >50% for overweight and obesity, insufficient physical activity, elevated fatigue, and regular alcohol intake among pilots. However, the heterogeneity in methodology and the lack of quality and quantity in the current literature limit the strength of conclusions that can be established. Enhanced monitoring and future research are essential to inform aviation health practices and policies (Systematic Review Registration: PROSPERO CRD42022308287).


Publication Date



International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health






(p. 4848-4848)





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© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https:// 4.0/).