Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Valerie B. Duffy; Michael M. Copenhaver

Field of Study

Allied Health


Master of Science

Open Access

Open Access


Musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) are the most prevalent occupational injuries in nursing home employees. Most of the research and interventions in the past 30 years have focused on teaching and training nursing home staff proper lifting and body mechanics to reduce the risk of injury. The weight of the nursing home staff and patients have increased dramatically in recent years parallel to the significant growth of adiposity in the general population with two out of three adults overweight, and one of four obese (Body mass index (BMI) > 30). This puts the staff at even higher risk for MSD injuries due to the stress on the lower back and joints during lifting. The long shifts, unavailability of healthy foods, stressful and demanding job all put nursing staff at higher risk of overweight and obesity. Elevated body mass (both patients and nursing staff) increases the mechanical loading on the joints and back and predisposes the nursing staff to occupational injuries including MSD, osteoarthritis as well as many chronic conditions associated with overweight and obesity.

Major Advisor

Pouran D. Faghri