Background The difference between a working and a non-working middle to older aged population and their lifestyle behaviours has not been investigated previously. Furthermore, the association between positive job characteristics for current older workers and the co-occurrence of positive lifestyle behaviours (PLBs) is scarcely known.
Methods We carried out a cross-sectional study on a sample of 2,047 males and females aged between 50-69 years. Data were collected on socio-demographic factors, and on PLBs (five or more portions of fruit and vegetables a day, ex/non-smoker, light alcohol intake and high/moderate physical activity). Just over half the sample were current workers (n = 1,025). Job characteristics were determined using the Copenhagen Psychosocial Questionnaire, specifically looking at demands and resources at work. Descriptive statistics were used to examine PLBs for the complete sample (workers and non-workers). Multinomial logistic regression was used to investigate job characteristics and the co-occurrence of PLBs for workers only.
Results The average PLBs were higher for the worker than the non-worker across most socio-demographic factors. Non-workers, with low levels of education, had lower mean PLBs. Workers with medium or high demands were significantly more likely to have 2 (OR 2.84 [95% CI 1.15, 7.02], p=0.02), 3 (3.54 [1.43, 8.75], p=0.01) and 4 (4.99 [1.90, 13.11], p<0.01). PLBs versus none, in comparison to those with low demands. In addition workers with medium/high possibility for development were more likely to have 2 (2.95 [1.19, 7.29], p=0.02), and 3 (2.81 [1.14, 6.93], p=0.03) PLBs versus 0 in comparison to those with low possibility for development.
Discussion Workers and non-workers differ with regard PLBs however, within workers, those with higher demands in work also have more PLBs. This is counter-intuitive, but may be the result of looking at the modern workplace with a modern tool. These findings can help inform health promotion initiatives in our communities and workplaces.
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