Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 2023;49(8):578-587    pdf

https://doi.org/10.5271/sjweh.4120 | Published online: 15 Sep 2023, Issue date: 01 Nov 2023

The impact of leisure-time physical activity and occupational physical activity on sickness absence. A prospective study among people with physically demanding jobs

by Ketels M, Belligh T, De Bacquer D, Clays E

Objectives This prospective study aimed to investigate the relation between occupational physical activity (OPA), leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) and sickness absence (SA). A second aim was to explore the possible interaction effects between OPA and LTPA in determining SA.

Methods The study is based on data from 304 workers in the service and manufacturing sector. Moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) was measured by two Axivity AX3 accelerometers for 2–4 consecutive working days. Participants reported on the level of their physically demanding tasks by using a 5-item scale from the Job Content Questionnaire. Data on SA was provided by the administration departments of the participating companies during a 1 year follow-up period. We used negative binomial regression models for our statistical analysis.

Results After adjusting for potential confounders, physically demanding tasks were significantly associated with a higher number of SA episodes and days. Accelerometer-assessed MVPA during leisure time but not during work was correlated with lower SA. Our results show a significant interaction effect between MVPA during work and leisure time in the sense that more MVPA during work increased the risk for SA days only among workers with low LTPA, but not among workers with moderate-to-high LTPA.

Conclusions Our results indicate that LTPA and OPA are related to opposite SA outcomes. MVPA during leisure time and work interact in their effect on SA, whereas we found no interaction effect between LTPA and self-reported physically demanding tasks in determining SA.

This article refers to the following texts of the Journal: 2012;38(6):582-589  2022;48(2):86-98  2022;48(8):651-661
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