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The physical strenuousness of work is slightly associated with an upward trend in the BMI


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  • Böckerman, Petri
  • Johansson, Edvard
  • Jousilahti, Pekka
  • Uutela, Antti


This paper examines the relationship between the physical strenuousness of work and the BMI in Finland, using individual microdata at 5-year intervals over the period 1972-2002. Data came from the National FINRISK Study which contains self-reported information on the physical strenuousness of a respondent's occupation. Our estimates show that the changes in the physical strenuousness of work explain around 7% at most of the increase in BMI for Finnish males observed over a period of 30 years. The main reason for this appears to be the effect of the physical strenuousness of work on BMI which is rather moderate. According to the point estimates, BMI is 2.4% lower when a male's occupation is physically very demanding and involves lifting and carrying heavy objects compared with a sedentary job (reference group of the estimations), other things being equal. Furthermore, it is very difficult to associate the changes in the occupational structure with the upward trend in BMI for females, and the contribution of the changes in the occupational structure is definitely even smaller for females than it is for males. All in all, we show that the changes in self-reported occupation show a slight association with the changes in the logarithm of the BMI scores.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Social Science & Medicine.

Volume (Year): 66 (2008)
Issue (Month): 6 (March)
Pages: 1346-1355

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Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:66:y:2008:i:6:p:1346-1355

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Keywords: Finland Body mass index (BMI) Obesity Overweight Occupational structure Physical strenuousness Longitudinal;


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Cited by:
  1. Godard, Mathilde, 2013. "Gaining weight through retirement ? Results from the SHARE survey," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/11535, Paris Dauphine University.
  2. Jay Teachman & Lucky Tedrow, 2013. "Veteran Status and Body Weight: A Longitudinal Fixed-Effects Approach," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer, vol. 32(2), pages 199-220, April.
  3. Böckerman, Petri & Johansson, Edvard & Kiiskinen, Urpo & Heliövaara, Markku, 2010. "Does physical capacity explain the height premium?," MPRA Paper 20108, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Johansson, Edvard & Böckerman, Petri & Kiiskinen, Urpo & Heliövaara, Markku, 2009. "Obesity and labour market success in Finland: The difference between having a high BMI and being fat," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 36-45, March.


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