Relationship between burnout and obesity: an integrative literature review




Psychological exhaustion; Obesity; Body mass index.


Objective: to identify scientific evidence on the association between burnout and obesity. Method: Integrative literature review. The guidelines and recommendations of the checklist of the Statement for Reporting Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses of Studie (PRISMA) and the PICO strategy were used. The selected articles were analyzed according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The databases were: PubMed; CINAHL; Web of Science; Scopus; SciElo; LILACS. Results: One hundred and seven articles were found. The final scope consisted of four studies. The periodicals were in the areas of Public Health, Occupational Health and Environment and Clinical Nutrition. There were three cross-sectional studies and one randomized controlled intervention study. Of the eligible studies, 75% (n=3) were classified at level VI of scientific evidence. However, it is indisputable that there is evidence of a direct or indirect effect of burnout and/or its dimensions on weight gain. Conclusion: The association of burnout and obesity is still incipient, as there were few eligible studies. The levels of evidence in the studies are predominantly due to cross-sectional studies. It is valid to suggest that studies with more robust methodologies be carried out with the theme in question so that the path of causality between burnout and obesity can be better elucidated.

Author Biographies

Douglas de Souza e Silva, Universidade Federal da Bahia

Enfermeiro. Mestre pelo Programa de Pós-graduação em Ciências da Saúde. Universidade Federal da Bahia, Brasil. 

Magno Conceição das Merces , Universidade Federal da Bahia; Universidade do Estado da Bahia

Enfermeiro. Doutor pelo Programa de Pós-graduação em Ciências da Saúde da Universidade Federal da Bahia, Brasil. Professor da Universidade do Estado da Bahia, Brasil.

Julita Maria Freitas Coelho , Universidade Federal da Bahia

Doutora. Instituto de Saúde Coletiva da Universidade Federal da Bahia.

Dandara Almeida Reis, Universidade do Estado da Bahia

Médica. Mestra em saúde Coletiva. Professora da Universidade do Estado da Bahia. Brasil.

Argemiro D’Oliveira Júnior, Universidade Federal da Bahia

Médico. Doutor. Professor do Programa de Pós-graduação em Ciências da Saúde da Universidade Federal da Bahia. Brasil.


Ahola, K., Pulkki-Råback, L., Kouvonen, A., Rossi, H., Aromaa, A. & Lönnqvist, J. (2012). Burnout and behavior-related health risk factors: results from the population-based Finnish Health 2000 study. J Occup Environ Med, 54(1), 17-22.

Armenta-Hernández, O. D., Maldonado-Macías, A., García-Alcaraz, J., Avelar-Sosa, L., Realyvasquez-Vargas, A. & Serrano-Rosa, M. A. (2018). Relationship between Burnout and Body Mass Index in Senior and Middle Managers from the Mexican Manufacturing Industry. Int J Environ Res Public Health, 15(3), 541.

Chico-Barba, G., Jimenez -Limas, K., Sanchez-Jimenez, B., Samano, R., Rodriguez-Ventura, A. L., Castillo-Perez, R. et al. (2019). Burnout and Metabolic Syndrome in Female Nurses: An Observational Study. Int J Environ Res Public Health, 16(11), 1993.

Coutinho, W. F. & Benchimol, A. K. (2006). Obesidade mórbida e afecções associadas. In: Garrido Junior, A. B., Ferraz, E. M., Barroso, F. L., Marchesini, J. B. & Szego, T. Cirurgia da obesidade. Atheneu, 2006. p.13-7.

Dallman, M. F. (2010). Stress-induced obesity and the emotional nervous system. Trends Endocrinol. Metab, 21, 159–165.

Fineout-Overholt, E., Melnyk, B. M., Stillwell, S. B. & Williamson, K. M. (2010). Evidence-Based Practice Step by Step: Critical Appraisal of the Evidence: Part I. AJN The American Journal of Nursing, 110 (7), 47-52.

Foss, B. & Dyrstad, S. M. (2001). Stress in obesity: Stress in obesity: Cause or consequence? Med. Hipóteses, 77, 7–10.

Galvão CM. Evidence Hierarchies. Acta paul enferm. 2006, 19(2): 5-5.

Ganong, L. H. (1987). Integrative reviews of nursing research. Rev Nurs Health, 10(1), 1–11.

He, S., Chen, Y., Zhan, J., Wu, J. & Opler, M. (2014). Job Burnout, Mood State, and Cardiovascular Variable Changes of Doctors and Nurses in a Children's Hospital in China. ISRN Nurs, 2014, e386719.

Iversen, L. B., Strandberg-Larsen, K., Prescott, E., Schnohr, P. & Rod, N. H. (2012). Psychosocial risk factors, weight changes and risk of obesity: the Copenhagen City Heart Study. Eur J Epidemiol, 27(2), 119-30.

Kitaoka-Higashiguchi, K., Morikawa, Y., Miura, K., Sakurai, M., Ishizaki, M., Kido, T. et al. (2009). Burnout and risk factors for arteriosclerotic disease: follow-up study. J Occup Health, 51(2), 123–31.

Koch, F. S., Sepa, A. & Ludvigsson, J. (2008). Psychological Stress and Obesity. J. Pediatr, 153. 839–844.

Li, S., Li, Y., Lv, H., Jiang, R., Zhao, P., Zheng, X. et al. (2020). The prevalence and correlates of burnout among Chinese preschool teachers. BMC Public Health, 20(160), 1-10.

Luckhaupt, S. E., Cohen, M. A., Li, J. & Calvert, G. M. (2014). Prevalence of obesity between US workers and associations with ocupational factor. Sou. J. Prev. Med, 46, 237–248.

Maslach, C. & Leiter, M. P. (2016). Understanding the burnout experience: recent research and its implications for psychiatry. World Psychiatry, 15(2), 103–11.

Melamed, S., Shirom, A., Toker, S. & Shapira, I. (2006). Burnout and risk of type 2 diabetes: a prospective study of apparently healthy employed persons. Psychosom Med, C68(6), 863–9.

Melamed, S., Shirom, A., Toker, S., Berliner, S. & Shapira, I. (2006). Burnout and risk of cardiovascular disease: evidence, possible causal paths, and promising research directions. Psychol Bull, 132(3), 327–53.

Merces, M. C., Coelho, J. M. F., Lua, I., Silva, D. S., Gomes, A. M. T., Erdmann, A. L. et al. (2020). Prevalence and Factors Associated with Burnout Syndrome among Primary Health Care Nursing Professionals: A Cross-Sectional Study. Int J Environ Res Public Health, 17(2), 474.

Merces, M. C., Silva, D. S., Lua, I., Oliveira, D. S., Souza, M. C. & D’Oliveira Júnior, A. (2016). Burnout syndrome and abdominal adiposity among Primary Health Care nursing professionals. Psicol Refl Crít, 29(44), 1-8.

Montiel, A., Ramírez, O., Esparza, A. & Guerrero, V. M. (2014). Relatos de vida de gerentes de producción en la industria maquiladora de Cd. Juárez, México. Glob.Conf. O. Financ. Proc, 9. 1700–1709.

Nevanperä, N. J., Hopsu, L., Kuosma, E., Ukkola, O., Uitti, J. & Laitinen, J. H. (2012). Occupational burnout, eating behavior, and weight among working women. The Am J Clin Nutrition, 95(4), 934-943.

O’Connell, M., Danforth, E. J., Horton, E. S., Salans, L. & Sims, E. H. (1973). Experimental obesity in man III. Adrenocortical function. J Clin Endocrinol Metab, 36. 323–9.

Ortega-Loubon, C., Fernández-Molina, M., Singh, G. & Correa, R. (2019). Obesity and its cardiovascular effects. Diabetes Metab Res Rev, 35, e3135.

Penz, M., Stalder, T., Miller, R., Ludwig, V. M., Kanthak, M. K. & Kirschbum, C. (2018). Hair cortisol as a biological marker for burnout symptomatology. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 87, 218-21.

Perea, P., Sánchez, J.& Fernández, L. (2008). Inteligencia emocional percibida y satisfacción laboral en enfermeras de salud mental de un hospital de Málaga: Resultados preliminares. Rev. Presencia, 4, 29.

Ribeiro, R. P., Marziale, M. H., Martins, J. T., Ribeiro, P. H., Robazzi, M. L. & Dalmas, J. C. (2015). Prevalence of Metabolic Syndrome among nursing personnel and its association with occupational stress, anxiety and depression. Rev Latino-Am, 23(3), 435-440.

Salvagioni, D. A. J., Melanda, F. N., Mesas, A. E., Gonzalez, A. D., Gabani, F. L. & Andrade, S. M. (2017). Physical, psychological and occupational consequences of job burnout: A systematic review of prospective studies. Plos One, 12(10), e0185781.

Santos, C. M. C., Pimenta, C. A. M. & Nobre, M. R. C. (2007). The pico strategy for the research question construction and evidence search. Rev Latino-Am. Enfermagem, 15(3), 508-511.

Steptoe, A. & Kivimäki, M. (2012). Stress and cardiovascular disease. Nature Reviews Cardiology, 9, 360–370.

Stetler, C. B., Morsi, D., Rucki, S. et al. (1998). Utilization-focused integrative reviews in a nursing servisse. Appl Nurs Res, 11(4), 195-206.

Thomas, J,G, & Wing, R,R. (2009). Maintenance of long term weight loss. Med. Saúde, 92, 56–57.

Toppinen‐Tanner, S., Ahola, K., Koskinen, A. & Väänänen, A. (2009). Burnout predicts hospitalization for mental and cardiovascular disorders: 10‐year prospective results from industrial sector. Stress Health, 25(4), 287–96.

Torres, S. J. & Nowson, C. A. (2007). Relationship between stress, eating behavior, and obesity. Nutrition, 23(11/12), 887-94.

Travison, T. G., O’Donnell, A. B., Araujo, A. B., Matsumoto, A. M. & McKinlay, J. B. (2007). Cortisol levels and measures of body composition in middle-aged and older men. Clin Endocrinol, 67, 71–7.

Vale, S. (2005). Psychosocial stress and cardiovascular diseases. Postgrad Med J, 81, 429-35.



How to Cite

SILVA, D. de S. e; MERCES , M. C. das .; COELHO , J. M. F. .; REIS, D. A. . .; D’OLIVEIRA JÚNIOR, A. . Relationship between burnout and obesity: an integrative literature review . Research, Society and Development, [S. l.], v. 10, n. 13, p. e374101321387, 2021. DOI: 10.33448/rsd-v10i13.21387. Disponível em: Acesso em: 6 jun. 2023.



Review Article