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For a while now obesity has been a health care concern for people all over the world. In the many years that obesity research has been conducted, various things have been taken into consideration including diet, exercise and medical history. In relatively recent years, researchers have expanded their definition of physical activity levels to include both the amounts of occupational physical activity and leisure time activity that a person partakes in.

The 2002 census occupation system assigned a 4 digit Metabolic equivalent (MET) to 509 separate occupations. These codes are particularly helpful for statistics agencies that need to collect and organize data based on occupation. For example, in obesity research, METs assigned to each occupation are helpful in quantifying the amount of physical activity that is carried out in a typical workday. Each MET has both a body position (sitting, standing, walking, lifting, etc.) and an intensity (light, moderate, high.) MET values are a helpful tool in many research studies because they offer a feasible, inexpensive way of collecting occupational data.

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