Health Disparities Among Workers With Standing Position and Limited Restroom Access: A Cosmetics Saleswomen Study in South Korea

Bokyoung Choi, Ji Hwan Kim, Jaehong Yoon, Hyemin Lee, Seung Sup Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Korean cosmetics sales workers in department stores face harmful working environments, including limited restroom access, working long hours in a standing position, and customer violence. This study investigated health disparities between cosmetics saleswomen and the general population of working women in South Korea. We assessed the prevalence of health indicators, including physician-diagnosed disease, using a cross-sectional survey of 860 Korean cosmetics saleswomen in September 2018. Health indicators of cosmetics saleswomen were compared to those of general working women from the nationally representative datasets (e.g., National Health Insurance Service-National Sample Cohort). We estimated age-standardized prevalence ratios (SPRs) for health outcomes, including physical, mental, and health-related behavioral conditions. Cosmetics saleswomen were more likely to be diagnosed or treated for physical and mental conditions (e.g., cystitis SPR: 4.03, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 3.48-4.65; plantar fasciitis SPR: 23.48, 95% CI: 18.12-29.93; varicose vein SPR: 38.41, 95% CI: 32.18-45.49; and depression SPR: 11.18, 95% CI: 8.53-14.40) compared to general working women. Prevalence of smoking and hazardous alcohol consumption was also higher among cosmetics saleswomen than those of general women workers. Given our findings, further research is needed to identify work-related risk factors that could deteriorate cosmetic sales workers’ health in South Korea.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)174-182
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Health Services
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Jan

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2021.


  • South Korea
  • department store
  • health disparities
  • saleswomen
  • standardized prevalence ratio

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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