Skip to main content Accessibility help

Effects of retirement on lifestyle in relation to changes in weight and waist circumference in Dutch men: a prospective study

  • Astrid CJ Nooyens (a1) (a2), Tommy LS Visscher (a1) (a2), A Jantine Schuit (a3), Caroline TM van Rossum (a4), WM Monique Verschuren (a1), Willem van Mechelen (a5) and Jacob C Seidell (a2)...



To study changes in lifestyle in relation to changes in body weight and waist circumference associated with occupational retirement in men.


A prospective cohort study with 5 years of follow-up. At baseline and at follow-up, questionnaires were completed and body weight and waist circumference were measured.


The Doetinchem Cohort Study, consisting of inhabitants of Doetinchem, a town in a rural area of The Netherlands.


In total 288 healthy men aged 50–65 years at baseline, who either remained employed or retired over follow-up.


The effect of retirement on changes in weight and waist circumference was dependent on type of former occupation. Increase in body weight and waist circumference was higher among men who retired from active jobs (0.42 kg year−1 and 0.77 cm year−1, respectively) than among men who retired from sedentary jobs (0.08 kg year−1 and 0.23 cm year−1, respectively). Weight gain and increase in waist circumference were associated with a decrease in fruit consumption and fibre density of the diet, with an increase in frequency of eating breakfast, and with a decrease in several physical activities, such as household activities, bicycling, walking and doing odd jobs.


Retirement was associated with an increase in weight and waist circumference among those with former active jobs, but not among those with former sedentary jobs. Retirement may bring opportunities for healthy changes in diet and physical activity, which could be used in health promotion programmes.


Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: Email


Hide All
1Marcell, TJ. Sarcopenia: causes, consequences, and preventions. Journal of Gerontology. Series A, Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences 2003; 58: M911–6.
2Weyer, C, Snitker, S, Rising, R, Bogardus, C, Ravussin, E. Determinants of energy expenditure and fuel utilization in man: effects of body composition, age, sex, ethnicity and glucose tolerance in 916 subjects. International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders 1999; 23: 715–22.
3Borkan, GA, Hults, DE, Gerzof, SG, Robbins, AH. Comparison of body composition in middle-aged and elderly males using computed tomography. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 1985; 66: 289–95.
4Seidell, JC, Oosterlee, A, Deurenberg, P, Hautvast, JG, Ruijs, JH. Abdominal fat depots measured with computed tomography: effects of degree of obesity, sex, and age. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1988; 42: 805–15.
5Gallagher, D, Ruts, E, Visser, M, Heshka, S, Baumgartner, RN, Wang, J, et al. Weight stability masks sarcopenia in elderly men and women. American Journal of Physiology. Endocrinology and Metabolism 2000; 279: E366–75.
6Seidell, JC, Visscher, TLS. Body weight and weight change and their health implications for the elderly. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2000; 54(Suppl. 3): S33–9.
7World Health Organization (WHO). Obesity: Preventing and Managing the Global Epidemic. Report of a WHO Consultation on Obesity. WHO/NUT/NCD/98.1. Geneva: WHO, 1998.
8Lean, ME, Han, TS, Morrison, CE. Waist circumference as a measure for indicating need for weight management. British Medical Journal 1995; 311: 158–61.
9Evenson, KR, Rosamond, WD, Cai, J, Diez-Roux, AV, Brancati, FL. Influence of retirement on leisure-time physical activity: the atherosclerosis risk in communities study. American Journal of Epidemiology 2002; 155: 692–9.
10Ekerdt, DJ, De Labry, LO, Glynn, RJ, Davis, RW. Change in drinking behaviors with retirement: findings from the normative aging study. Journal of Studies on Alcohol 1989; 50: 347–53.
11Lauque, S, Nourashemi, F, Soleilhavoup, C, Guyonnet, S, Bertiere, MC, Sachet, P, et al. A prospective study of changes on nutritional patterns 6 months before and 18 months after retirement. Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging 1998; 2: 8891.
12Davies, L, Holdsworth, MD, MacFarlane, D. Dietary fibre intakes in the United Kingdom before and after retirement from work. Human Nutrition. Applied Nutrition 1986; 40: 431–9.
13Patrick, JM, Bassey, EJ, Fentem, PH. Changes in body fat and muscle in manual workers at and after retirement. European Journal of Applied Physiology and Occupational Physiology 1982; 49: 187–96.
14Koh-Banerjee, P, Chu, NF, Spiegelman, D, Rosner, B, Colditz, G, Willett, W, et al. Prospective study of the association of changes in dietary intake, physical activity, alcohol consumption, and smoking with 9-y gain in waist circumference among 16 587 US men. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2003; 78: 719–27.
15Verschuren, WMM, Smit, HA, van Leer, EM, Berns, MPH, Blokstra, A, Steenbrink-van Woerden, JA, et al. Prevalence and Risk Factors of Cardiovascular Disease and Their Changes in the Period 1987–1991. Final Report Monitoring Project on Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors 1987–1991. Bilthoven: National Institute of Public Health and Environmental Protection, 1994 (in Dutch).
16Smit, HA, Verschuren, WMM, Bueno de Mesquita, HB, Seidell, JC. The Monitoring Project on Risk Factors for Chronic Diseases in The Netherlands (MORGEN-project): Aim and Method. Bilthoven: National Institute of Public Health and the Environment, 1994 (in Dutch).
17Ocké, MC, Bueno de Mesquita, HB, Goddijn, HE, Jansen, A, Pols, MA, van Staveren, WA, et al. The Dutch EPIC food frequency questionnaire. I. Description of the questionnaire, and relative validity and reproducibility for food groups. International Journal of Epidemiology 1997; 26(Suppl 1): S37S48.
18Ocké, MC, Bueno de Mesquita, HB, Pols, MA, Smit, HA, van Staveren, WA, Kromhout, D. The Dutch EPIC food frequency questionnaire. II. Relative validity and reproducibility for nutrients. International Journal of Epidemiology ; 1997; 26(Suppl. 1): S49S58.
19NEVO Foundation. NEVO Table. Dutch Nutrient Data Base 1996. The Hague: Voorlichtingsbureau voor de voeding, 1996 (in Dutch).
20Pols, MA, Peeters, PH, Ocké, MC, Slimani, N, Bueno de Mesquita, HB, Collette, HJ. Estimation of reproducibility and relative validity of the questions included in the EPIC Physical Activity Questionnaire. International Journal of Epidemiology 1997; 26(Suppl. 1): S181–9.
21Ainsworth, BE, Haskell, WL, Leon, AS, Jacobs, DR Jr, Montoye, HJ, Sallis, JF, et al. Compendium of physical activities: classification of energy costs of human physical activities. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 1993; 25: 7180.
22 Statistics Netherlands. CBS Web magazine, 6 April 2004 [homepage on the Internet]. Voorburg/Heerlen: Statistics Netherlands, 2005. Available at Accessed 2 July 2004..
23Braam, LA, Ocke, MC, Bueno-de-Mesquita, HB, Seidell, JC. Determinants of obesity-related underreporting of energy intake. American Journal of Epidemiology 1998; 147: 1081–6.
24Zhang, J, Temme, EH, Sasaki, S, Kesteloot, H. Under- and overreporting of energy intake using urinary cations as biomarkers: relation to body mass index. American Journal of Epidemiology 2000; 152: 453–62.
25Lichtman, SW, Pisarska, K, Berman, ER, Pestone, M, Dowling, H, Offenbacher, E, et al. Discrepancy between self-reported and actual caloric intake and exercise in obese subjects. New England Journal of Medicine 1992; 327: 1893–8.
26Wannamethee, SG, Shaper, AG. Alcohol, body weight, and weight gain in middle-aged men. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2003; 77: 1312–7.
27Fogelholm, M, Kujala, U, Kaprio, J, Sarna, S. Predictors of weight change in middle-aged and old men. Obesity Research 2000; 8: 367–73.
28Morris, JK, Cook, DG, Shaper, AG. Non-employment and changes in smoking, drinking, and body weight. British Medical Journal 1992; 304: 536–41.
29Visscher, TLS, Seidell, JC, Molarius, A, van der Kuip, D, Hofman, A, Witteman, JC. A comparison of body mass index, waist–hip ratio and waist circumference as predictors of all-cause mortality among the elderly: the Rotterdam study. International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders 2001; 25: 1730–5.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Public Health Nutrition
  • ISSN: 1368-9800
  • EISSN: 1475-2727
  • URL: /core/journals/public-health-nutrition
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed