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Absence from Work May Predict Risk of Death

Sickness absence for specific health conditions linked to risk of all-cause mortality

MONDAY, Dec. 1 (HealthDay News) -- In men and women, absence from work due to sickness can be a strong indicator of risk of death and morbidity, according to study findings reported online Nov. 27 in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

In the prospective French GAZEL study, Jane E. Ferrie, Ph.D., of the University College London Medical School in the United Kingdom, and colleagues examined an occupational cohort of French public utility workers (5,271 women and 13,964 men) aged 37 to 51 years in 1990, for medically certified sickness absence exceeding a week, over a three-year period (1990-1992). The main outcome was all-cause mortality from January 1993 to February 2007.

The investigators found that mostly mental disorders in women (hazard ratio 1.24), and mental (1.35), digestive (1.29), circulatory (1.35) and skin diseases (1.75) in men were associated with death, after adjusting for age, employment grade and all other diagnostic conditions.

"The present study confirmed findings from previous studies that sickness absence is a risk marker for all-cause mortality. In addition, we showed that, in both women and men, part of this excess mortality was due to sickness absence for specific diagnoses known to be predictive of death," the authors conclude.

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