Advertisement

Occupational physical activity and mortality among Danish workers

  • Andreas HoltermannEmail author
  • Hermann Burr
  • Jørgen V. Hansen
  • Niklas Krause
  • Karen Søgaard
  • Ole S. Mortensen
Original Article

Abstract

Purpose

The relationship between occupational physical activity (OPA) and mortality has mainly been studied among males and shows conflicting results. This study examines this relationship in a cohort of both male and female workers.

Methods

OPA was determined by 4 self-reported questions in a representative sample of 5,839 Danish workers aged 18–59 years at baseline. A 19-year follow-up on mortality was assessed by linkage with the national death registry. Gender-stratified Cox regression models were used to determine the effect of high OPA on all-cause mortality while controlling for age, BMI, smoking, alcohol consumption, doctor-diagnosed disease, influence at work, and social class.

Results

Two hundred and sixty-two males (8.6%) and 174 females (6.2%) died during follow-up. Being in the highest quartile of OPA predicted an increased risk for all-cause mortality among male workers (HR: 1.79, CI: 1.19–2.70), but not among female workers (HR: 0.99, CI: 0.65–1.49) compared with workers in the lowest quartile of OPA. Among females, indications of a u-shaped relationship between occupational physical activity and all-cause mortality were found.

Conclusions

The findings indicate that high occupational physical activity increases the risk for all-cause mortality among male workers. Future studies need to further examine gender differences in the effects of OPA on mortality.

Keywords

Physical work demands Occupational health All-cause mortality 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The study is a part of the Physical work demands and fitness project, financed by the Danish Working Environment Research Foundation. The 1990 round of the Danish Work Environment Cohort Study was partly funded by the Danish Health Insurance Fund and by the Danish Work Environment Research Foundation (grant 1989–2004).

Conflict of interest

All benefits in any form from a commercial party related directly or indirectly to the subject of this manuscript or any of the authors are acknowledged. The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

References

  1. Andersen LB, Schnohr P, Schroll M, Hein HO (2000) All-cause mortality associated with physical activity during leisure time, work, sports, and cycling to work. Arch Intern Med 160:1621–1628CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Barengo NC, Hu G, Lakka TA, Pekkarinen H, Nissinen A, Tuomilehto J (2004) Low physical activity as a predictor for total and cardiovascular disease mortality in middle-aged men and women in Finland. Eur Heart J 25:2204–2211CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Burr H, Bjorner JB, Kristensen TS, Tuchsen F, Bach E (2003) Trends in the Danish work environment in 1990–2000 and their associations with labor-force changes. Scand J Work Environ Health 29:270–279CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Cox DR (1972) Regression models and life-tables. J R Stat Soc 34:187–220Google Scholar
  5. Glagov S, Zarins C, Giddens DP, Ku DN (1988) Hemodynamics and atherosclerosis—insights and perspectives gained from studies of human arteries. Arch Path Lab Med 112:1018–1031Google Scholar
  6. Holtermann A, Mortensen OS, Burr H, Søgaard K, Gyntelberg F, Suadicani P (2009) The interplay between physical activity at work and during leisure time—risk of ischemic heart disease and all-cause mortality in middle-aged Caucasian men. Scand J Work Environ Health 35:466–474CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Holtermann A, Mortensen OS, Burr H, Søgaard K, Gyntelberg F, Suadicani P (2010a) Fitness, work, and leisure-time physical activity and ischaemic heart disease and all-cause mortality among men with pre-existing cardiovascular disease. Scand J Work Environ Health 36:366–372CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Holtermann A, Mortensen OS, Burr H, Søgaard K, Gyntelberg F, Suadicani P (2010b) Physical demands at work, physical fitness, and 30 year ischaemic heart disease and all-cause mortality in The Copenhagen Male Study. Scand J Work Environ Health 36:357–365CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Korn EL, Graubard BI, Midthune D (1997) Time-to-event analysis of longitudinal follow-up of a survey: choice of the time-scale. Am J Epidemiol 145:72–80Google Scholar
  10. Krause N (2010) Physical activity and cardiovascular mortality—disentangling the roles of work, fitness, and leisure. Scand J Work Environ Health 36:349–355CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Krause N, Brand RJ, Kaplan GA, Kauhanen J, Malla S, Tuomainen T-P, Salonen JT (2007) Occupational physical activity, energy expenditure and 11 year progression of carotid atherosclerosis. Scand J Work Environ Health 33:405–424CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Kristal-Boneh E, Harari G, Melamed S, Froom P (2000) Association of physical activity at work with mortality in Israeli industrial employees: the CORDIS study. J Occup Environ Med 42:127–135CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Kuper H, Marmot M (2003) Job strain, job demands, decision latitude, and risk of coronary heart disease within the Whitehall II study. J Epidemiol Commun Health 57:147–153CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Lissner L, Bengtsson C, Bjorkelund C, Wedel H (1996) Physical activity levels and changes in relation to longevity: a prospective study of Swedish women. Am J Epidemiol 143:54–62Google Scholar
  15. Paffenbarger RS, Hale WE (1975) Work activity and coronary heart mortality. New Eng J Med 292:545–550CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Pedersen CB, Gotzsche H, Moller JO, Mortensen PB (2006) The Danish civil registration system—a cohort of eight million persons. Dan Med Bull 53:441–449Google Scholar
  17. Salonen JT, Slater JS, Tuomilehto J, Rauramaa R (1988) Leisure time and occupational physical activity: risk of death from ischemic heart disease. Am J Epidemiol 127:87–94Google Scholar
  18. Stender M, Hense HW, Doring A, Keil U (1993) Physical-activity at work and cardiovascular-disease risk—results from the Monica Augsburg Study. Int J Epidemiol 22:644–650CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andreas Holtermann
    • 1
    Email author
  • Hermann Burr
    • 1
  • Jørgen V. Hansen
    • 1
  • Niklas Krause
    • 2
  • Karen Søgaard
    • 3
  • Ole S. Mortensen
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.National Research Centre for the Working EnvironmentCopenhagenDenmark
  2. 2.Department of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public HealthUniversity of California Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA
  3. 3.Institute of Sports Science and Clinical BiomechanicsUniversity of Southern DenmarkOdenseDenmark
  4. 4.Department of Occupational and Environmental MedicineBispebjerg University HospitalCopenhagenDenmark

Personalised recommendations