Objectives: This study investigated the associations of smoking, excess alcohol consumption, and physical inactivity with the use of hospital care.
Methods: A cohort of 19- to 63-year-old Finnish men (n = 2534) and women (n = 2668) were followed prospectively for 16 years. Number of hospital days was extracted from the national hospital discharge registry, while data concerning exposure variables were derived from the baseline questionnaire.
Results: After adjustment for confounders, male smokers had 70% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 49%, 95%) and female smokers had 49% (95% CI = 29%, 71%) more hospital days due to my cause than did those who had never smoked. Men consuming a moderate amount of alcohol had 21% (95% CI = 10%, 31%) fewer hospital days due to any cause than did nondrinkers. Men who had the lowest energy expenditure during leisure-time physical activity had 36% (95% CI = 15%, 63%) more hospital days than the most active men. The figure for women was 23% (95% CI = 4%, 44%).
Conclusions: Smoking was strongly associated with an increased use of hospital services. The associations of alcohol consumption and leisure-time physical activity with use of hospital care depended on the diagnosis under study.