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Epidemiol Health > Accepted Articles
Epidemiology and Health 2019;e2019025.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.4178/epih.e2019025    [Accepted] Published online Aug 16, 2019.
Health Effects of Underground Workspaces (HEUW) cohort in Singapore: study design and baseline characteristics
Gerard Dunleavy1  , Thirunavukkarasu Sathish1,2  , Nuraini Nazeha1  , Michael Soljak1  , Nanthini Visvalingam1  , Ram Bajpai1,3  , Hui Shan Yap4  , Adam Charles Roberts4  , Thach Thuan Quoc1  , André Comiran Tonon5,6  , Georgios Christopoulos7  , Chee-Kiong Soh4  , Kei Long Cheung8  , Hein de Vries9  , Josip Car1 
1Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
2Population Health Research Institute, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada
3Research Institute for Primary Care and Health Sciences, Keele University, Staffordshire, United Kingdom
4School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering, Nanyang Technological University Singapore
5Laboratório de Cronobiologia e Sono, Porto Alegre Clínicas Hospital (HCPA), Porto Alegre, Brazil
6Postgraduate Program in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Federal University of Rio Grande Do Sul (UFRGS), Porto Alegre, Brazil
7Division of Strategy, Management and Organisation, Nanyang Business School, College of Business, Nanyang Technological University Singapore
8Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Health and Life Sciences, Brunel University, London, United Kingdom
9Department of Health Promotion, CAPHRI Care and Public Health Research Institute, Maastricht University, Maastricht, Netherlands
Correspondence  Gerard Dunleavy ,Tel: +65 6904 7021, Email: gerard.dunleavy@ntu.edu.sg
Received: May 21, 2019  Accepted after revision: Aug 5, 2019
Abstract
The development of underground workspaces is a strategic effort towards healthy urban growth in ever-increasing land-scarce cities. Despite the growth in underground workspaces, there is limited information regarding the impact of this environment on worker’s health. The Health Effects of Underground Workspaces (HEUW) study is a cohort study which was set up to examine the health effects of working in underground workspaces. In this paper, we describe the rationale for the study, study design, data collection and baseline characteristics of participants. The HEUW study recruited 464 participants at baseline, of which 424 (91.4%) were followed-up at three months, and 334 (72.0%) after 12 months from baseline. We used standardized and validated questionnaires to collect information on socio-demographic and lifestyle characteristics, medical history, family history of chronic diseases, sleep quality, health-related quality of life, chronotype, psychological distress, occupational factors, and comfort levels with indoor environmental quality parameters. Clinical and anthropometric parameters including blood pressure, spirometry, height, weight, waist and hip circumference were also measured. Biochemical tests of participant’s blood and urine samples were conducted to measure glucose, lipids and melatonin levels. We also conducted objective measurements of an individual’s workplace environment, assessing air quality, light intensity, temperature, thermal comfort, bacterial and fungal counts. Findings from this study will help to identify modifiable lifestyle and environmental parameters that are negatively affecting worker’s health. The findings may be used to guide the development of more health-promoting workspaces that attempt to negate any potential negative health effects from working in underground workspaces.
Keywords: Workplace ; Environmental health; Cohort Studies


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