STUDY OBJECTIVE--The aim was to examine the relationship between exposure to occupational risk factors during working life and physical disability after retirement. DESIGN--The study was a cross sectional epidemiological survey of a representative sample of retired subjects belonging to a supplementary pension fund in the Paris area. SETTING--The study took place in the general community. PATIENTS--307 men and 320 women (63.1% of those approached) answered a questionnaire during home interviews. Their average age was 69 (SD4) years at the beginning of the survey. Whether or not subjects had been exposed to occupational risks was determined from their statements concerning the presence or absence of eight harmful environmental conditions while at work. Physical disability was defined as difficulty in carrying out seven basic activities of daily life. MAIN RESULTS--The results of univariate analyses showed significant relationships between exposure during working life to occupational risks including noise, heat, dust, carrying heavy loads, and awkward postures on the one hand, and the presence of a physical disability after retirement on the other. Multivariate analysis based on logistic regression models that took account of age, sex, and health impairments revealed a specific link between exposure to carrying heavy loads and physical disability after retirement. CONCLUSIONS--These results suggest that occupational risk factors might be important in determining such disability in retired people.
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