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

  • 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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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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