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Nearly all working age people reported at least one health risk factor, and three quarters reported multiple health risk factors, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The report, Risk factors and participation in work, looked at the work patterns of people who reported health risk factors, and compared them with the work patterns of those who did not report health risk factors.

These risk factors include, smoking, risky alcohol consumption, physical inactivity and low fruit and vegetable consumption.

Karen Bishop of the Institute's Population Health Unit said, 'The report found that the odds of not being in the labour force were greater for those with health risk factors than for those without, but only marginally.

'However, men and women with three or more risk factors had significantly greater odds of not being in the workforce,' she said.

For men with three or more risk factors, the odds of being out of the labour force were twice as high as for men without health risk factors. For women with three or more risk factors, the odds were almost twice as high.

Rates of absenteeism were significantly higher for men and women who reported at least one health risk factor and at least one chronic disease.

Rates of absenteeism for this group were four times as high for men, and more than twice as high for women, than their counterparts who did not report any health risk factors or chronic disease.

The health risk factors assessed in this report are widely known to contribute to the development of chronic conditions such as heart diseases, lung diseases and diabetes.

Thursday 25 March 2010

Further information: Ms Karen Bishop, AIHW, tel. (02) 6244 1085, mob. 0407 915 851.

For media copies of the report: Publications Officer, AIHW, tel. (02) 6244 1032.

Risk factors and participation in work