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Relationship of airflow limitation severity with work productivity reduction and sick leave in a Japanese working population

Authors Onoue A, Omori H, Katoh T, Kubota K, Nonami Y, Ogata Y, Inoue H

Received 3 November 2015

Accepted for publication 13 January 2016

Published 16 March 2016 Volume 2016:11(1) Pages 567—575


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Russell

Ayumi Onoue,1 Hisamitsu Omori,1 Takahiko Katoh,2 Kenichi Kubota,3 Yoshio Nonami,3 Yasuhiro Ogata,3 Hiromasa Inoue4

1Department of Biomedical Laboratory Sciences, 2Department of Public Health, Faculty of Life Sciences, Kumamoto University, 3Japanese Red Cross Kumamoto Health Care Center, Kumamoto, 4Department of Pulmonary Medicine, Graduate School of Medical and Dental Sciences, Kagoshima University, Kagoshima, Japan

Background: The aim of this study was to reveal the association between airflow limitation (AL) severity and reduction with work productivity as well as use of sick leave among Japanese workers.
Methods: This cross-sectional study included 1,378 workers who underwent a lung function test during a health checkup at the Japanese Red Cross Kumamoto Health Care Center. AL was defined as forced expiratory volume in 1 second/forced vital capacity of <0.7. Workers completed a questionnaire on productivity loss at work and sick leave. The quality and quantity of productivity loss at work were measured on a ten-point scale indicating how much work was actually performed on the previous workday. Participants were asked how many days in the past 12 months they were unable to work because of health problems. Logistic regression analysis was used to assess the associations between AL severity and the quality and quantity of productivity loss at work as well as use of sick leave.
Results: Compared with workers without AL, workers with moderate-to-severe AL showed a significant productivity loss (quality: odds ratio [OR] =2.04, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.12–3.71, P=0.02 and quantity: OR =2.19, 95% CI: 1.20–4.00, P=0.011) and use of sick leave (OR =2.69, 95% CI: 1.33–5.44, P=0.006) after adjusting for sex, age, body mass index, smoking status, hypertension, hyperglycemia, dyslipidemia, sleep duration, work hours per day, and workplace smoking environment.
Conclusion: AL severity was significantly associated with work productivity loss and use of sick leave. Our findings suggested that early intervention in the subjects with AL at the workforce might be beneficial for promoting work ability.

Keywords: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, airflow limitation, work productivity, sick leave, presenteeism, absenteeism

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