High leisure-time physical activity reduces the risk of long-term sickness absence

Tidsskriftartikel - 2020


OBJECTIVES: This study examined the association of leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) with the risk of long-term sickness absence (LTSA).

METHODS: A total of 10 427 subjects from the general working population in Denmark answered questions about physical activity habits, health and work environment in the 2010 Danish Work Environment Cohort Study (DWECS). Data on LTSA (≥6 consecutive weeks during 2-year follow-up) were obtained from the Danish Register for Evaluation of Marginalization (DREAM). Cox regression analysis censored for competing events and adjusted for potential confounders (age, sex, BMI, smoking habits, depression, cancer, back diseases, previous LTSA, occupational social class, and psychosocial work environment) estimated the association between the predictor (LTPA) and the outcome variable (LTSA). During the 2-year follow-up period, 9.2% of the studied population experienced LTSA.

RESULTS: In the general working population, moderate LTPA was not associated with LTSA (HR = 0.89, 95% CI: 0.72-1.09), while high LTPA showed a tendency (HR = 0.77, 95% CI: 0.59-1.01). In subgroup analyses, women below the age of 45 years with high LTPA showed a significantly lower risk of LTSA when compared with their low LTPA counterparts (HR = 0.44, 95% CI: 0.25-0.78).

CONCLUSION: The results suggest that high levels of physical activity during leisure are associated with a lowered risk of LTSA, especially among younger women.


López-Bueno R, Sundstrup E, Vinstrup J, Casajús JA, Andersen LL. High leisure-time physical activity reduces the risk of long-term sickness absence. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports 2020;30(5):939-946.
doi: 10.1111/sms.13629

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