THE HEALTH AND WELLNESS CHARACTERISTICS OF FOOD AND BEVERAGE SERVICE INDUSTRY WORKERS IN AUSTIN, TEXAS: A PARTICIPATORY CROSS-SECTIONAL SURVEY
Food and beverage service industry workers are prone to tobacco use, alcohol abuse, illicit drug use, and mental health conditions. These workers are also highly likely to not have health insurance. Despite the poor health outcomes that stem from these conditions, little to no empirical evidence currently exists to explain the factors that contribute to the poor health condition of the service industry workforce. This study used a cross-sectional online survey to gather preliminary information on the health and wellness condition of service industry workers over the age of 18 in Austin, Texas. Survey respondents revealed high rates of alcohol abuse, substance abuse, tobacco use, poor mental health, as well as a high likelihood to be uninsured that is reflective of the service industry population nationwide. Patterns emerged regarding health insurance and health care system utilization, health insurance and employer size, pay type and prior health diagnoses, proximity to alcohol and drinking habits, and job function and health concerns. These findings justify the need for additional interest in the health needs of this population on behalf of researchers, policymakers, and service industry leaders.