Lack of exercise linked to raised illness-related absence
Relationship between frequency of aerobic activity and illness-related absenteeism in a large employee sample. Jacobson BH, Aldana SG. J Occup Environ Med. 2001. 43: 1019-1025.
To investigate the relationship between habitual physical activity levels and yearly rates of sickness-related absence from work.
79,070 employees in the US who completed a health and lifestyle questionnaire, which included questions on physical activity.
Type, duration and frequency of physical activity were compared with self-reported workdays missed because of illness in the previous 12 months.
- Annual sickness absence was lower for those with higher recorded levels of physical activity than for those who did less exercise.
- The most marked difference was observed between those who did no activity and those who did one day of activity per week; non-exercisers had 46% greater absence rates than those who exercised once a week.
- Further, nonexercisers were 51% more likely to be absent for seven days a year or more than those reporting two days of exercise per week, and 30% more likely than those reporting activity one day a week.
What does this mean?
Strategies to promote physical activity could reduce the rates of absence due to illness, and in turn reduce costs that relate to absenteeism.