OBJECTIVE: To contribute to the development of measures that increase physical activity (PA) levels in workers with and without chronic diseases, insight into workers' PA level is needed. Therefore, this study examined the association between the number of chronic diseases and PA in a Dutch working population.
METHODS: Data of 131,032 workers from the Dutch Public Health Monitor 2012 were used in this cross-sectional study conducted in 2015 in the Netherlands. PA was operationalized as adherence (yes/no) to three PA guidelines. One of these was the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) guideline (≥ 3 days/week, ≥ 20 min/day of vigorous-intensity activities). Also, the amount of moderate- and vigorous-intensity PA in min/week for those who were physically active for > 0 min/week was calculated. Associations between chronic diseases (0, 1, ≥ 2 chronic diseases) and PA were examined using logistic regression and Generalized Estimating Equations stratified for age (19-54 years/55-64 years).
RESULTS: Workers aged 19-54 years with one (OR = 0.90 (99% CI = 0.84-0.95)) and multiple chronic diseases (OR = 0.76 (99% CI = 0.69-0.83)) had lower odds of adhering to the ACSM-guideline than workers without chronic diseases. Similar patterns were found for older workers. Younger workers with one (B = 24.44 (99% CI = 8.59-40.30)) and multiple chronic diseases (B = 49.11 (99% CI = 26.61-71.61)) had a higher amount of moderate PA than workers without chronic diseases.
CONCLUSION: Workers with chronic diseases adhered less often to the ACSM-guideline, but among workers aged 19-54 years who were physically active for > 0 min/week, those with chronic diseases spent more time in moderate-intensity PA than those without chronic diseases.