Curtin University research shows physically active jobs linked to early death in males

Professor Leon Straker.
Professor Leon Straker.

BEING physically active isn’t always the healthier option, especially if you’re a male working in a labour-intensive job.

Research involving Curtin University found that men who work in physically active jobs were more likely to die earlier than those in inactive or desk-bound occupations.

According to the research, men who engaged in a high level of physical activity at work had an 18 per cent increased risk of early death compared to those in less active jobs.

Professor Leon Straker (Swanbourne) said the research examined the link between occupational physical activity and mortality among almost 200,000 globally.

“We know the importance of physical activity in leisure time for the prevention of non-communicable diseases has been well documented, but this research shows there may be an increased risk of early death from working in a physically active job among men,” he said.

“This study shows that men who took part in a high level of occupational physical activity had an 18 per cent higher risk of early death compared to those who only reported a low level of physical activity in the workplace.

“However, the opposite pattern was observed for women with female workers who took part in a higher level of physical activity in the workplace experiencing a decreased risk of early death compared to those who worked in physically less active jobs.”

Prof Straker said the research suggested that physical activity guidelines should be updated to differentiate between physical activity undertaken at work and home.

“International guidelines encourage people to engage in 30 minutes of at least moderate intensity physical activity daily, but these guidelines do not distinguish between occupational, leisure time and transportation related physical activity,” he said.

“This research shows the physical activity guidelines may need to differentiate between the different types of physical activity because it indicates a higher risk of early death for men who work in physically active jobs.”