Tampere University of Technology

TUTCRIS Research Portal

Activity Level and Body Mass Index as Predictors of Physical Workload During Working Career

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Original languageEnglish
JournalSafety and Health at Work
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2019
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


The increasing prevalence of inactivity and obesity, along with aging, has implications on work capacity of labor force. This study reports the relationships between activity level and BMI by age with objectively measured physical workload. Data were examined from a sample of 19 481 Finnish employees using an estimate of minute-to-minute oxygen consumption based on R-R interval recordings. The mean estimated %VO2max during the working day was 12.1 (±3.6) and 15.1 (±4.5)% for men and women, respectively. Based on a linear model, the mean %VO2max increased by 1.5%-unit per 10-year increase in age, by 2.1%-unit per 5 kg/m2 increase in BMI, and decreased by 1.6%-unit if improving physical activity class by two (p < 0.001 for all). Overweight and obesity, together with inactivity, notably increases workload throughout the career, even though at young adulthood, the daily workload is almost the same for each person regardless of the BMI, activity level, or gender. This study highlights the importance of regular physical activity and normal weight in protecting the worker from excessive physical (cardiovascular) workload during the whole working career.


  • Aging worker, Big data, Functional capacity, Physical activity, Work ability

Publication forum classification

Field of science, Statistics Finland

Downloads statistics

No data available