Overweight and Distress Have a Joint Association With Long-Term Sickness Absence Among Dutch Employees

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Abstract

Objectives:

To examine separate and joint associations of overweight and distress with long-term sickness absence (LTSA).

Methods:

We included a total of 2724 Dutch employees participating in occupational health checks between 2008 and 2012. Overweight was defined as a body mass index of 25 kg/m2 or more; distress concerned a score of 10 or more on the Four-Dimensional Symptom Questionnaire. Long-term sickness absence was defined as sickness absence lasting more than 2 consecutive weeks. Synergy was estimated from logistic regression models using the synergy index.

Results:

The joint association of overweight and distress with LTSA was significant in women (odds ratio, 2.35; 95% confidence interval, 1.31 to 4.24), but not in men (odds ratio, 1.58; 95%confidence interval, 0.74 to 3.37). In women, we found a synergy index of 1.04 (95%confidence interval, 0.34 to 3.15).

Conclusions:

The joint association of overweight and distress with LTSA was not synergistic. Addressing comorbid overweight and distress may help reduce the burden of LTSA in women.

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