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The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2020 June;60(6):919-25

DOI: 10.23736/S0022-4707.20.10434-1


lingua: Inglese

Higher leisure-time physical activity is associated with lower sickness absence: cross-sectional analysis among the general workforce

Rubén LÓPEZ-BUENO 1, 2 , Joaquín CALATAYUD 2, 3, Guillermo F. LÓPEZ-SÁNCHEZ 4, Lee SMITH 5, Lars L. ANDERSEN 2, 6, José A. CASAJÚS 7, 8, 9

1 Department of Physical Medicine and Nursing, University of Zaragoza, Zaragoza, Spain; 2 National Research Center for the Working Environment, Copenhagen, Denmark; 3 Exercise Intervention for Health Research Group (EXINH-RG), Department of Physiotherapy, University of Valencia, Spain; 4 Faculty of Sport Sciences, University of Murcia, Murcia Spain; 5 The Cambridge Centre for Sports and Exercise Sciences, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, UK; 6 Department of Health Science and Technology, Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark; 7 Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Zaragoza, Zaragoza, Spain; 8 GENUD (Growth, Exercise, Nutrition and Development) Research Group, University of Zaragoza, Zaragoza, Spain; 9 Biomedical Research Networking Center about Nutrition and Obesity Physiopathology (CIBER-OBN), Madrid, Spain

BACKGROUND: Prevention of sickness absence (SA) is a major public health challenge. Sufficient levels of physical activity may be an important protective factor. In contrast to the North European countries, little is known about physical activity behavior and its influence over SA in South European countries.
METHODS: In the European Health Interview Survey (EHIS) 2014, a total of 9512 Spanish workers aged 17 to 70 (46.5% women) replied to questions about SA (last 12 months) and the frequency of leisure-time physical activity (LTPA). Multiple linear regression adjusted for age, sex, education, occupational class, smoking habits, body mass index, and chronic disease (diabetes, hypertension, neck pain, low back pain, chronic depression and anxiety) was used to assess associations.
RESULTS: The average SA among the participants was 6.9 days (SD=33.3) per year, whereas the prevalence of any SA episode was 22.0%. The prevalence of workers performing high or very high LTPA was 31.0%. In final sex and age-stratified fully adjusted models, the association between LTPA and SA remained significant for women aged 44 to 51 (β=-0.07, 95% CI: -0.42 to -0.03) for SA.
CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest that higher LTPA is associated with lower SA in a particular category of workers, that might benefit from physical activity strategies.

KEY WORDS: Workplace; Exercise; Absenteeism; Sick leave

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