People with chronic diseases more disinclined to work

February 17th, 2009 - 1:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, Feb 17 (IANS) Chronic diseases like depression, arthritis and asthma are likely to keep more people from work or out of the workforce, according to a report.

The report released by Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) looked at selected chronic diseases to provide an estimate of the loss to the economy due to reduced participation in work of people with chronic diseases.

Karen Bishop, who authored the report, said: “As one might expect, chronic diseases are associated with lower participation in the labour force and more missed days of work.”

“Even after adjusting for age, people with chronic disease were 60 percent more likely to not be in the labour force than people without chronic diseases. They were also less likely to be employed full-time and more likely to be unemployed,” she said.

People with chronic diseases who were in the labour force had, on an average, about half-a-day off work in the previous fortnight due to illness compared to about a quarter of a day on average for those without chronic diseases.

Of approximately 10.5 million Australians, aged 25-64 years, about 33 percent reported at least one of the following chronic diseases: arthritis, asthma, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), depression, diabetes and osteoporosis.

The report also found that men with chronic diseases were more than twice as likely to be out of the labour force whereas women with chronic disease were 20 percent more likely not to participate in the labour force, said an AIHW release.

The report estimates a loss of nearly 540,000 full-time workers associated with the presence of chronic disease.

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