Chronic diseases and functional limitations among older construction workers in the United States: a 10-year follow-up study

J Occup Environ Med. 2011 Apr;53(4):372-80. doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e3182122286.


Objectives: To examine the health status of older construction workers in the United States, and how occupation and the aging process affect health in workers' later years.

Methods: We analyzed six waves (1998 to 2008) of the Health and Retirement Study, a longitudinal survey of US residents age 50+. The study sample totaled 7200 male workers (510 in construction trades) in the baseline. Multiple logistic regression and paired t tests were conducted to compare health outcomes across occupations and within individuals over time.

Results: Compared with white-collar workers, construction workers had increased odds of arthritis, back problems, chronic lung disease, functional limitations, work disability, and work-related injuries after controlling for possible confounders.

Conclusions: Safety and health interventions, as well as retirement and pension policy, should meet the needs of older construction workers, who face increasingly chronic health conditions over time.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aging*
  • Arthritis / epidemiology
  • Chronic Disease
  • Disabled Persons / statistics & numerical data
  • Facility Design and Construction / statistics & numerical data
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Lung Diseases / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Occupations / statistics & numerical data
  • United States / epidemiology