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  • Kantomaa, Marko T.; Tikanmaki, Marjaana; Kankaanpaa, Anna; Vaarasmaki, Marja; Sipola-Leppanen, Marika; Ekelund, Ulf; Hakonen, Harto; Jarvelin, Marjo-Riitta; Kajantie, Eero; Tammelin, Tuija H. (2016)
    This study examined the association of education level with objectively measured physical activity and sedentary time in young adults. Data from the Finnish ESTER study (20092011) (n = 538) was used to examine the association between educational attainment and different subcomponents of physical activity and sedentary time measured using hip-worn accelerometers (ActiGraph GT1M) for seven consecutive days. Overall physical activity, moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA), light-intensity physical activity and sedentary time were calculated separately for weekdays and weekend days. A latent profile analysis was conducted to identify the different profiles of sedentary time and the subcomponents of physical activity. The educational differences in accelerometer-measured physical activity and sedentary time varied according to the subcomponents of physical activity, and between weekdays and weekend days. A high education level was associated with high MVPA during weekdays and weekend days in both sexes, high sedentary time during weekdays in both sexes, and a low amount of light-intensity physical activity during weekdays in males and during weekdays and weekend days in females. The results indicate different challenges related to unhealthy behaviours in young adults with low and high education: low education is associated with a lack of MVPA, whereas high education is associated with a lack of light-intensity physical activity and high sedentary time especially during weekdays.
  • Ervasti, Jenni; Kivimaki, Mika; Pentti, Jaana; Halonen, Jaana I.; Vahtera, Jussi; Virtanen, Marianna (2018)
    Background We investigated whether changes in alcohol use predict changes in the risk of sickness absence in a case-crossover design. Methods Finnish public sector employees were surveyed in 2000, 2004 and 2008 on alcohol use and covariates. Heavy drinking was defined as either a weekly intake that exceeded recommendations (12 units for women; 23 for men) or having an extreme drinking session. The responses were linked to national sickness absence registers. We analysed the within-person relative risk of change in the risk of sickness absence in relation to change in drinking. Case period refers to being sickness absent within 1 year of the survey and control period refers to not being sickness absent within 1 year of the survey. Results Periods of heavy drinking were associated with increased odds of self-certified short-term (1-3 days) sickness absence (multivariable-adjusted OR 1.21, 95% CI 1.07 to 1.38 for all participants; 1.62, 95% CI 1.19 to 2.21 for men and 1.15, 95% CI 1.00 to 1.33 for women). A higher risk of short-term sickness absence was also observed after increase in drinking (OR=1.27, 95% CI 1.07 to 1.52) and a lower risk was observed after decrease in drinking (OR=0.83, 95% CI 0.69 to 1.00). Both increase (OR=1.38, 95% CI 1.21 to 1.57) and decrease (OR=1.27, 95% CI 1.19 to 1.43) in drinking were associated with increased risk of long-term (> 9 days) medically certified all-cause sickness absence. Conclusion Increase in drinking was related to increases in short-term and long-term sickness absences. Men and employees with a low socioeconomic position in particular seemed to be at risk.
  • Seiluri, Tina; Lahti, Jouni Markku Mikael; Rahkonen, Ossi; Lahelma, Eero; Lallukka, Tea (2011)
    BACKGROUND: Physical activity is known to have health benefits across population groups. However, less is known about changes over time in socioeconomic differences in leisure-time physical activity and the reasons for the changes. We hypothesised that class differences in leisure-time physical activity would widen over time due to declining physical activity among the lower occupational classes. We examined whether occupational class differences in leisure-time physical activity change over time in a cohort of Finnish middle-aged women and men. We also examined whether a set of selected covariates could account for the observed changes. METHODS: The data were derived from the Helsinki Health Study cohort mail surveys; the respondents were 40-60-year-old employees of the City of Helsinki at baseline in 2000-2002 (n = 8960, response rate 67%). Follow-up questionnaires were sent to the baseline respondents in 2007 (n = 7332, response rate 83%). The outcome measure was leisure-time physical activity, including commuting, converted to metabolic equivalent tasks (MET). Socioeconomic position was measured by occupational class (professionals, semi-professionals, routine non-manual employees and manual workers). The covariates included baseline age, marital status, limiting long-lasting illness, common mental disorders, job strain, physical and mental health functioning, smoking, body mass index, and employment status at follow-up. Firstly the analyses focused on changes over time in age adjusted prevalence of leisure-time physical activity. Secondly, logistic regression analysis was used to adjust for covariates of changes in occupational class differences in leisure-time physical activity. RESULTS: At baseline there were no occupational class differences in leisure-time physical activity. Over the follow-up leisure-time physical activity increased among those in the higher classes and decreased among manual workers, suggesting the emergence of occupational class differences at follow-up. Women in routine non-manual and manual classes and men in the manual class tended to be more often physically inactive in their leisure-time (<14 MET hours/week) and to be less often active (>30 MET hours/week) than those in the top two classes. Adjustment for the covariates did not substantially affect the observed occupational class differences in leisure-time physical activity at follow-up. CONCLUSIONS: Occupational class differences in leisure-time physical activity emerged over the follow-up period among both women and men. Leisure-time physical activity needs to be promoted among ageing employees, especially among manual workers.
  • Halonen, Jaana I.; Koskinen, Aki; Kouvonen, Anne Maria; Varje, Pekka; Pirkola, Sami Pekka; Väänänen, Ari (2018)
    Background It is unknown whether newer, mainly selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, and older tricyclic antidepressants are used similarly regardless of the geographical area of residence and education. Methods We included four randomly sampled cohorts of the Finnish working aged population (n = 998,540–1,033,135). The sampling (Dec 31st in 1995, 2000, 2004 and 2010) resulted in non-overlapping time windows where each participant was followed up for four years for the first antidepressant use. Using Cox proportional hazards models, we examined whether the hazard of antidepressant use differed between the capital area and three other areas (Southern, Western and Northern/Eastern Finland). Educational differences were examined using four sub-groups: capital area/high education (reference category); other areas/high education; capital area/low education; and other areas/low education. Results Hazard ratios for the use of newer antidepressants were significantly lower in all other areas compared to the capital area after adjustment for age, sex, marital status, employment status, education, income, and area-level unemployment. Findings remained consistent in all time windows, differences increasing slightly. In the sub-group analysis those with low education had the lowest level of use in all areas, also within the capital area. The results were opposite for older antidepressants in all but the last time window. Limitations Some degree of unmeasured confounding and exposure misclassification is likely to exist. Conclusions Newer antidepressants were more commonly used in the capital than in the other areas, and among those with high versus low education. These differences in antidepressant use suggest socioeconomic inequalities in the mental health treatment quality.
  • Sumanen, Hilla; Lahelma, Eero; Lahti, Jouni; Pietiläinen, Olli; Rahkonen, Ossi (2016)
    Objective Socioeconomic differences in sickness absence (SA) are well established among older employees but poorly understood among the young. Our aim was to examine 12-year trends in educational differences in SA among young female and male employees, and to assess the magnitude of the differences. Design We examined annual SA spells. The data were obtained from the employer's registers and linked to Statistics Finland's register data on completed education and qualifications. Education was classified into four hierarchical groups. Joinpoint regression models were used to identify turning points in SA trends. The magnitude of the relative educational differences was estimated in accordance with the relative index of inequality for 2002, 2008 and 2013. Setting Employees of the City of Helsinki, Finland, in 2002-2013. Participants The analyses covered female and male employees aged 25-34years: employees aged 35-54years were used as a reference group. Outcome SA spells. Results An educational gradient emerged among younger and older women and men. SA spells increased in the early 2000s, and downward turning points were located in 2007-2010 in all educational groups among women and in most groups among men. The magnitude of the differences remained broadly stable among younger women from 2002 to 2013, and decreased slightly among older women and more strongly among younger and older men. The educational differences were greater among men than women in the early 2000s, but similar among both at the end of the study period. Conclusions The changes in SA spells may reflect the economic downturn started in 2008 and resulting job insecurity. Early preventive measures aimed at reducing educational differences in SA should be focused at an early stage on those with low levels of education in particular.
  • Sumanen, Hilla; Pietilainen, Olli; Lahti, Jouni; Lahelma, Eero; Rahkonen, Ossi (2015)
    Background: A low socioeconomic position (SEP) is consistently associated with ill health, sickness absence (SA) and permanent disability, but studies among young employees are lacking. We examined the interrelationships between education, occupational class and income as determinants of SA among 25-34-year-old employees. We also examined, whether the association between SEP and SA varied over time in 2002-2007 and 2008-2013. Methods: The analyses covered young, 25-34-year-old women and men employed by the City of Helsinki over the time periods 2002-2007 and 2008-2013. Four-level education and occupational class classifications were used, as well as income quartiles. The outcome measure was the number of annual SA days. Results: Education had the strongest and most consistent independent association with SA among women and men in both periods under study. Occupational class had weaker independent and less consistent association with SA. Income had an independent association with SA, which strengthened over time among the men. The interrelationships between the SEP indicators and SA were partly explained by prior or mediated through subsequent SEP indicators. Socioeconomic differences followed only partially a gradient for occupational class and also for income among men. Conclusions: Preventive measures to reduce the risk of SA should be considered, especially among young employees with a basic or lower-secondary education.
  • Virtanen, Marianna; Oksanen, Tuula; Pentti, Jaana; Ervasti, Jenni; Head, Jenny; Stenholm, Sari; Vahtera, Jussi; Kivimaki, Mika (2017)
    Objectives The aim of this study was to examine occupational class differences in working more than six months beyond the mandatory retirement age and factors that may contribute to these differences. Methods The study comprised a prospective cohort study of a total of 5331 Finnish municipal employees (73% women) who were not on work disability pension and reached the age eligible for old-age pension in 2005-2011. Occupational class included four categories: managers and professionals, lower grade non-manual, skilled manual, and elementary occupations. Survey responses while at work were linked to national health and pension registers. Results A total of 921 participants (17.3%) worked beyond the pensionable age. Compared with elementary workers, skilled manual workers had a similar probability [gender-adjusted risk ratio (RR) 0.95, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 0.72-1.23] while lower grade non-manual workers had a 2.03-fold (95% CI 1.59-2.58), and managers and professionals had a 1.79-fold (95% CI 1.41-2.27) probability of working beyond the pensionable age. Adjustment for physical workload (32.0% in lower non-manual, 36.7% in managers and professionals), work time control (20.4% and 11.4%) and perceived work ability (16.5% and 29.1%) contributed to the largest attenuation for these associations. Analyses using a counterfactual approach suggested greater mediated effects for physical workload and work time control than those observed in traditional mediation analyses. Conclusions Employees with higher occupational classes are two times more likely to continue working beyond the retirement age compared to those with lower occupational classes. A large proportion of these differences were explained by having physically light job, better work time control, and better self-rated work ability among employees with high occupational class.
  • Pihlajamäki, Minna; Uitti, Jukka; Arola, Heikki; Korhonen, Mikko; Nummi, Tapio; Taimela, Simo (2020)
    Purpose Work disability (WD) as a medico-legal concept refers to disability benefits (DB) that are granted due to diseases that permanently reduce work ability. We studied whether an occupational healthcare instrument for the prediction of sickness absence (SA) risk-a health risk appraisal (HRA)-also predicts permanent WD. Methods HRA results were combined with registry data on DB of 22,023 employees from different industry sectors. We analysed how the HRA risk categories predict DB and considered occupational group, gender, age, and prior SA as confounding variables. Cumulative incidence function illustrates the difference between the HRA risk categories, and the Fine-Gray model estimates the predictors of WD during 6-year follow-up. Results The most common primary reasons for permanent WD were musculoskeletal (39%) and mental disorders (21%). Self-reported health problems in the HRA, labelled as "WD risk factors", predicted DB when controlling for age and prior SA. Hazard ratios were 10.9 or over with the lower limit of the 95% confidence interval 3.3 or over among those with two simultaneous WD risk factors. 14% of the females and 17% of the males with three or more simultaneous WD risk factors had received a DB, whereas the respective figures among those without findings were 1.9% and 0.3%. Conclusions Self-reported health problems in the HRA, especially multiple simultaneous WD risk factors, predict permanent WD among both genders across occupational groups. Screening WD risk with a self-administered questionnaire is a potential means for identifying high-risk employees for targeting occupational healthcare actions.
  • Manderbacka, Kristiina; Peltonen, Riina; Koskinen, Seppo; Martikainen, Pekka (2011)
    Background: Increasing incidence of diabetes has been reported in many countries and the disease burden related to diabetes to be distributed unevenly across the population. Patients with lower socioeconomic position have been reported to have higher diabetes prevalence, higher rates of diabetes related complications and excess mortality. This study examined trends in gender, age and socioeconomic differences in the burden of diabetes mortality in the Finnish population aged 35-80 and potential years of life lost (PYLL) due to diabetes. Methods: The data consist of an 11% random sample of Finnish residents in 1987-2007 and an 80% oversample of persons who died during those years. We examined diabetes both as underlying and contributory cause. We calculated age-specific and age-standardized diabetes death rates by gender and socioeconomic position using the direct method and PYLL due to diabetes related deaths for 2004-2007. Results: Diabetes related mortality was higher among older Finns. A clear and systematic socioeconomic pattern was detected among both men and women: the higher the socioeconomic position the lower the mortality. The contribution of diabetes to PYLL was 8% among men and 6% among women. Among women, the contribution of diabetes to PYLL was lower in higher socioeconomic groups, whereas among men, the contribution was similar in all socioeconomic groups. Conclusions: In order to further reduce the burden of diabetes a better treatment balance to prevent diabetes complications would significantly decrease the burden of diabetes mortality. Use of underlying and contributory causes of death is useful in monitoring trends and sub-group differences in the burden of diabetes.
  • Mäkinen, Tomi E.; Borodulin, Katja; Tammelin, Tuija H.; Rahkonen, Ossi; Laatikainen, Tiina; Prättälä, Ritva (2010)
  • Sumanen, Hilla; Lahelma, Eero; Pietilainen, Olli; Rahkonen, Ossi (2017)
    Background: Our aim was to examine the magnitude of relative occupational class differences in sickness absence (SA) days over a 15-year period among female and male municipal employees in two age-groups. Methods: 18-34 and 35-59-year-old employees of the City of Helsinki from 2002 to 2016 were included in our data (n = similar to 37,500 per year). Occupational class was classified into four groups. The magnitude of relative occupational class differences in SA was studied using the relative index of inequality (RII). Results: The relative occupational class differences were larger among older than younger employees; the largest differences were among 35-59-year-old men. Among women in both age-groups the relative class differences remained stable during 2002-2016. Among younger and older men, the differences were larger during the beginning of study period than in the end. Among women in both age-groups the RII values were between 2.19 (95% confidence intervals (CI) 1.98, 2.42) and 3.60 (95% CI 3.28, 3.95). The corresponding differences varied from 3.74 (95% CI 3.13, 4.48) to 1.68 (95% CI 1.44, 1.97) among younger and from 6.43 (95% CI 5.85, 7.06) to 3.31 (95% CI 2.98, 3.68) among older men. Conclusions: Relative occupational class differences were persistent among employees irrespective of age group and gender. Preventive measures should be started at young age.
  • Lallukka, Tea; Ervasti, Jenni; Lundström, Erik; Mittendorfer-Rutz, Ellenor; Friberg, Emilie; Virtanen, Marianna; Alexanderson, Kristina (2018)
    Background-Although a stroke event often leads to work disability, diagnoses behind work disability before and after stroke are largely unknown. We examined the pre-event and postevent trends in diagnosis-specific work disability among patients of working age. Methods and Results-We included all new nonfatal stroke events in 2006-2008 from population-based hospital registers in Sweden among women and men aged 25 to 60 years (n=12 972). Annual days of diagnosis-specific work disability were followed for 4 years before and after stroke. Repeated measures negative binomial regression models using the generalized estimating equations method were fitted to examine trends in diagnosis-specific work disability before and after the event. Already during the 4 pre-event years, work disability attributed to circulatory diseases increased among women (rate ratio, 1.99; 95% confidence interval, 1.68-2.36) and men (rate ratio, 2.20; 95% confidence interval, 1.88-2.57). Increasing trends before stroke were also found for work disability attributed to mental disorders, musculoskeletal diseases, neoplasms, diseases of the nervous, respiratory, and digestive systems, injuries, and diabetes mellitus. As expected, a sharp increase in work disability days attributed to circulatory diseases was found during the first year after the event among both sexes. Overall, during 4 years after the stroke, there was a decreasing trend for circulatory diseases and injuries, whereas the trend was increasing for nervous diseases and diabetes mellitus. Conclusions-Work disability attributed to several mental and somatic diagnoses is higher already before a stroke event.