OPEN Research Support

Gert Frank Thomsen
Department of Occupational and Environmental medicine

Projekt styring
Projekt status    Sampling ongoing
Data indsamlingsdatoer
Start 01.02.2017  
Slut 31.12.2024  

The Esbjerg Cohort Study

Short summary

During the last ten years there have been several political initiatives to increase the age of withdrawal from the labour market.  We plan to establish a cohort of people in the late years of their working life to investigate to what extent health conditions are important for withdrawal and whether there are professions or trades, where preventive measures are especially needed to reduce health effects and the risk of preterm retirement. 


Several legislative interventions with both economic incentives and postponing of rights have been initiated since 2006 in order to delay withdrawal.  This has led to a heated debate about people being worn out, but little up to date evidence exists. The work conditions have changed a lot during the last decades, reducing the ergonomic loads in many, but not all, occupations.  Recent studies have shown that the physical strains at work e.g. in cleaning are near or above the accepted limits compared to the muscle strength in women the late fifties. Many studies have shown that overweight leads to degenerative changes, which resembles the changes caused by occupational strains, but few studies have focused on the combined effects.

The aims of the study:

  1. To describe occupational and age related changes in physical capacity in the older workforce
  2. To investigate whether the use of a number of standardized and validated measurements can be used to follow work and age related changes over time, and whether it is possible to differentiate between these factors
  3. To investigate if overweight may affect these changes
  4. To establish Danish normative data for these measurements in these age categories
  5. To follow withdrawal and sick leave in the cohort, with the purpose to point out high risk areas

The study has three parts

  1. Questionnaire. Web-based
  2. Interview and clinical examination
  3. Registry based follow-up in the interim period
The questionnaire and clinical examination will be repeated after five years.

Description of the cohort

Questionnaire will sent to the 23.780 citizens in Esbjerg Municipality age 50-65 years

Random 10 % = 2378 will be invited to interview and clinical examination

Data and biological material

Questionnaire on health, occupation and lifestyle

Interview: Detailed data on occupational history, physical and psychosocial health

Clinical data: Muscle strength, agility, coordination, BMI, Spirometry

Collaborating researchers and departments

Department of occupational medicine, Hospital of Southwest Jutland

  • Consultant Gert Thomsen, MD, MR
  • Consultant Lars Skadhauge, MD, PhD
  • Consultant Jesper Rasmussen, MD, PhD
  • Consultant Søren Dahl, MD
Department of Regional Health Research/Hospital of Southwest Jutland

  •        Associate Professor  Bibi Valgerdur Gram, PhD

Institute of Clinical Research, University of Southern Denmark/Department of Orthopaedics, Lillebaelt Hospital

  • Associate Professor Carsten Jensen, MsC, PhD