The effect of occupational physical activity on dementia: results from the Copenhagen Male Study

Tidsskriftartikel - 2021


Leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) reduces the risk of dementia, while the effect of occupational physical activity (OPA) on dementia is uncertain. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate the effect of OPA on dementia. For comparison, also the association between LTPA and dementia was analyzed. In this longitudinal study, we used self-reported questionnaire data on OPA and LTPA collected in 1970-71 from 4,721 male employees, who were 40-59 years old at baseline. Dementia was identified through national registers and participants were followed from they turned 60 years and until 2016. We estimated incidence rate ratios (IRR) and adjusted for age, socioeconomic status, marital status and psychological stress. In additional analyses, we included health behavior and blood pressure and mutually adjusted OPA and LTPA. We identified 697 dementia cases during 86,557 person-years. We found an IRR of 1.48 (95% CI: 1.05-2.10) among participants with high OPA compared with participants in sedentary jobs. Participants with high LTPA had a non-significantly lower IRR of dementia compared with participants with a sedentary leisure-time. In conclusion, LTPA and OPA are differentially associated with dementia. Therefore, current recommendations regarding the beneficial effect of physical activity on dementia only apply to LTPA, and more research on OPA and dementia is needed.


Nabe-Nielsen K, Holtermann A, Gyntelberg F, Garde AH, Islamoska S, Prescott E, Schnohr P, Hansen ÅM. The effect of occupational physical activity on dementia: results from the Copenhagen Male Study. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports 2021;31(2):446-455.
doi: 10.1111/sms.13846

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