To assess the prospective associations between self-reported physical capacity and risk of long-term sickness absence among female health care workers.
Female health care workers answered a questionnaire about physical capacity and were followed in a national register of sickness absence lasting for two or more consecutive weeks during 1-year follow-up. Using Cox regression hazard ratio analyses adjusted for age, smoking, body mass index, physical workload, job seniority, psychosocial work conditions, and previous sickness absence, we modeled risk estimates for sickness absence from low and medium physical capacity.
Low and medium aerobic fitness, low muscle strength, low flexibility, and low overall physical capacity significantly increased the risk for sickness absence with 20% to 34% compared with health care workers with high capacity.
Low physical capacity increases the risk of long-term sickness absence among female health care workers.