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Scand J Work Environ Health. 2010 Jan;36(1):62-70. Epub 2009 Dec 4.

Occupational class differences in leisure-time physical inactivity--contribution of past and current physical workload and other working conditions.

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  • 1National Institute for Health and Welfare, FI-00271 Helsinki, Finland. tomi.makinen@thl.fi



Our aim was to examine the contribution of past and current physical workload to occupational class differences in leisure-time physical inactivity.


Data were taken from the Finnish population-based Health 2000 Survey of employees aged >or=30 years (N=3355). We assessed physical activity during leisure time using a questionnaire and dichotomized responses to inactive versus active. Occupational class was classified into white- and blue-collar worker. Adjustments were made for current work-related factors, other measures of socioeconomic position, clinically diagnosed chronic diseases, other health behaviors, and history of physical workload. We applied sequential logistic regression to the analyses.


Inactivity during leisure time was more common in blue-collar employees than in their white-collar counterparts [women odds ratio (OR) 1.50, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 1.12-2.00; men OR 1.66, 95% CI 1.30-2.12]. These occupational differences were not due to working hours, work schedule, or chronic diseases. Among women, current job strain decreased the occupational differences in leisure-time physical inactivity slightly (OR 1.37, 95% CI 0.99-1.04). Education and household income contributed to occupational differences for men (OR 1.45, 95% CI 1.02-2.07), but had no additional effect among women. The occupation differences in leisure-time physical inactivity disappeared after adjusting for smoking and body mass index in women (OR 1.33, 95% CI 0.97-1.83) and men (OR 1.27, 95% CI 0.88-1.82) and were further attenuated after adjusting for history of physical workload among men (OR 1.07, 95% CI 0.67-1.72).


Having a long history of exposure to physical work (among men) and a high current job strain (among women) contributed to occupational class differences in leisure-time physical inactivity.

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