Relationship between frequency of aerobic activity and illness-related absenteeism in a large employee sample

J Occup Environ Med. 2001 Dec;43(12):1019-25. doi: 10.1097/00043764-200112000-00004.


Frequency of weekly aerobic activity was compared with annual illness-related absenteeism in 79,070 adult US adult workers. Weekly exercise, days per week of aerobic activity (> or = 20 minutes), and absenteeism consisting of days per year and grouped as 1 to 3, 4 to 6, and 7+ days were recorded. After controlling for confounding variables, chi-squared values and odds ratios were calculated. A significant (chi 2 = 280.37) relationship was found between absenteeism and exercise. Differences (P < 0.05) in absenteeism were found between no exercise and all frequencies of weekly exercise. One day of exercise was associated with lower absenteeism when compared with no exercise, and 2 days of exercise was more favorable than one. No differences were found between any other combinations (2 to 3, 2 to 4+, 3 to 4+ days) of exercise frequency and absenteeism. These data suggest a significant relationship between exercise frequency and illness-related absenteeism.

MeSH terms

  • Absenteeism
  • Adult
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Data Collection
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Health / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sick Leave / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States / epidemiology