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Chronic Diseases and Functional Limitations Among Older Construction Workers in the United States: A 10-Year Follow-up Study

Dong, Xiuwen Sue DrPH; Wang, Xuanwen PhD; Daw, Christina PhD; Ringen, Knut DrPH

Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine:
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e3182122286
Original Articles
Abstract

Objectives: To examine the health status of older construction workers in the United States, and how occupation and the aging process affect health in workers' later years.

Methods: We analyzed six waves (1998 to 2008) of the Health and Retirement Study, a longitudinal survey of US residents age 50+. The study sample totaled 7200 male workers (510 in construction trades) in the baseline. Multiple logistic regression and paired t tests were conducted to compare health outcomes across occupations and within individuals over time.

Results: Compared with white-collar workers, construction workers had increased odds of arthritis, back problems, chronic lung disease, functional limitations, work disability, and work-related injuries after controlling for possible confounders.

Conclusions: Safety and health interventions, as well as retirement and pension policy, should meet the needs of older construction workers, who face increasingly chronic health conditions over time.

Author Information

From the CPWR—The Center for Construction Research and Training, Silver Spring, Md.

Address correspondence to: Xiuwen Sue Dong, DrPH, CPWR—The Center for Construction Research and Training, 8484 Georgia Ave, Ste 1000, Silver Spring, MD 20910; E-mail: SDong@cpwr.com with copy to CDaw@cpwr.com

©2011The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine