Job strain and cardiovascular risk factors among members of the Danish parliament

Occup Med (Lond). 1998 Jan;48(1):31-6. doi: 10.1093/occmed/48.1.31.


Sudden cardiovascular events among well-known politicians attract much attention--from the mass media and from the public. No previous studies have assessed the job strain profile and level of known cardiovascular risk factors among parliamentary politicians. The study was carried out within the frameworks of the Copenhagen City Heart Study. Some 102 members of the Danish parliament (70 men and 32 women) agreed to participate, giving a response rate of 55%. Three sex- and age-matched participants were drawn for each politician from the Copenhagen City Heart Study. In addition to the completion of large questionnaires on health and working conditions, all participants had a thorough examination, including measurements of height and weight and blood pressure and the drawing of a venous blood sample for the determination of serum lipids, ApolipoproteinA1 and ApolipoproteinB and fibrinogen. Job strain factors and established cardiovascular risk factors were the main outcome factors. Politicians reported much higher job demands, but also much more influence on their job than others. Politicians smoked less, consumed more wine, had higher levels of ApolipoproteinA1, and were taller. With respect to other major cardiovascular risk factors, serum lipids, blood pressure and physical activity, there was no difference between politicians and controls. Politicians had greater job demands, but also more control over their job than others, indicating that the job strain phenomenon should not increase their risk of cardiovascular disease. Other cardiovascular risk factors, job related or conventional, which were unevenly distributed between politicians and controls all favoured politicians. In conclusion, politicians had a more beneficial cardiovascular risk factor profile than a matched random sample from a comparable background population.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology*
  • Denmark
  • Female
  • Government*
  • Humans
  • Job Satisfaction
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Politics
  • Risk Factors
  • Stress, Psychological / complications