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Scand J Soc Med. 1984;12(4):155-64.

Geographical and socioeconomic distribution of physical activity at work and leisure time and its relation to morbidity in a Swedish rural county.


The article is an account of physical activity at work and during leisure time in a Swedish rural county based on a cross-sectional study of a selection of 7986 individuals in the age range 25-75, at 5-year intervals. 70% of the men and 71% of the women participated in the study--carried out in the spring of 1977--comprising a health examination and a combined inquiry/interview poll. 50% of the men and 22% of the women perform either moderately heavy or heavy work, with little variation between age groups. 20% of the men and 8% of the women engage in regular physical exercise and hard training. 14% of the men and 15% of the women are inactive during their leisure hours. Physical activity at work and physical exercise habits vary in different municipalities. Thus in the rural districts, physical activity at work is greater than elsewhere. Any differences between municipalities disappeared after adjustment for age, sex and occupation. Greater physical activity at work is positively correlated to somatic disturbances, one being a high diastolic blood pressure. A high level of physical activity in leisure time is correlated to low total morbidity of somatic disorders and fewer mental disturbances--irrespective of age, sex, physical activity at work and socioeconomic group. An astonishing finding is that there is no correlation between physical activity during leisure time and at work. Nevertheless, there are differences between socioeconomic groups regarding physical activity during leisure hours. Civil servants are those characterized as most active.

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