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Incidence of Sick Leave at Iranian Car Company Examined

Less sick leave taken at Iranian company than in high-income countries for neck and shoulder pain

MONDAY, Mar. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Workers in Iran, a middle-income country, take little sick leave for neck and shoulder pain compared with workers in high-income countries, researchers report in the Feb. 15 issue of Spine.

Akbar Alipour, M.D., from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, and colleagues examined the incidence of sick leave due to neck and shoulder pain, and risk factors in 12,184 employees of an Iranian auto manufacturing company.

During four years of follow-up, the investigators found that the incidence of sick leave was 0.8 percent, although the incidence was 4.2 percent among the 3,127 employees who chose not to participate in the study. Risk factors for sick leave differed from risk factors for pain, with repetitive work, sitting positions at work, and unattractive work being significant risk factors for sick leave, the report indicates.

"The incidence of neck and shoulder pain based on sick leave is definitely very low compared with previous studies in high-income countries," Alipour and colleagues conclude. "A young population, job security, the insurance system, different health behaviors, and healthy worker bias, are all factors that may affect the results, and sick-leave as an outcome must be interpreted with more caution in middle- and low-income countries."

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