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Open AccessArticle

Timing of Entry into Paid Employment, Adverse Physical Work Exposures and Health: The Young Helsinki Health Study

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Department of Public Health, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 20, 00014 Helsinki, Finland
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Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, P.O. Box 18, 00032 Helsinki, Finland
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Department of Health Care and Emergency Care, South Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences, 48220 Kotka, Finland
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Department of Health Security, Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, P.O. Box 30, 00271 Helsinki, Finland
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Department of Strategy and Research, City of Vantaa, 01030 Vantaa, Finland
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Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Helsinki, 00014 Helsinki, Finland
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Research Institute of Psychology, SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities, 53-238 Wroclaw, Poland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(21), 7854; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17217854
Received: 12 September 2020 / Revised: 12 October 2020 / Accepted: 23 October 2020 / Published: 27 October 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Determinants of Health)
It is not well known how the timing of entry into paid employment and physical work exposures contribute to different health outcomes in young employees. Thus, we determined the associations of age at entry into paid employment and physical work exposures with general and mental health in young employees and determined whether associations differ by behavior-related risk factors. Data were collected via online and mailed surveys in autumn 2017 from employees of the City of Helsinki aged 18–39 years (n = 5897; 4630 women and 1267 men, response rate 51.5%). Surveys comprised measures of age at entry into paid employment, seven working conditions, behavior-related risk factors and health outcomes (self-rated health [SRH] and common mental disorders [CMD] as generic indicators of physical and mental health). Logistic regression analysis was used. After full adjustment, age at entry was not associated with the health outcomes; however, in additional analyses, younger age at first employment was associated with smoking and obesity (OR 3.00, 95% CI 2.34–3.85 and 1.67, 95% CI 1.32–2.11 for those started working at age of ≤18 years, respectively). Of the working conditions, sitting and standing were positively associated with poor SRH and CMD and uncomfortable working postures with CMD. Working conditions were broadly similarly associated with health outcomes among those with and without behavior-related risk factors. Although we found little support for modification by behavior-related risk factors, overweight, obesity and smoking were associated with poor SRH and binge drinking and smoking with CMD. Additionally, moderate and high levels of leisure-time physical activity were inversely associated with poor SRH. In conclusion, early entry into paid employment appears not to associate to immediate poorer health in young employees, although it was associated with smoking and obesity even after full adjustment. Exposure to physically heavy work and uncomfortable working postures may increase the risk of adverse health outcomes. View Full-Text
Keywords: occupational cohort; social determinants; working conditions; health behaviors; obesity; self-rated health; young employees occupational cohort; social determinants; working conditions; health behaviors; obesity; self-rated health; young employees
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Lallukka, T.; Shiri, R.; Pietiläinen, O.; Kausto, J.; Sumanen, H.; Halonen, J.I.; Lahelma, E.; Rahkonen, O.; Mänty, M.; Kouvonen, A. Timing of Entry into Paid Employment, Adverse Physical Work Exposures and Health: The Young Helsinki Health Study. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 7854.

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