Young and healthy … well, maybe that’s the opposite! For the eleventh year in a row, the Job Health Index shows that younger people are sicker more often than those aged 55 and over.“The living habits are getting worse among the younger ones,” says Irene Jensen, Professor of Corporate Health Practices at Karolinska Institutet.
The Job Health Index has been developed every year since 2007. It is the result of an annual survey in which thousands of Swedes answer questions concerning, among other things, working conditions and sickness absence.
More younger people are ill-registered
For all years, the survey has shown that those who are 55 years of age or older are those who are usually full-year-old. Being year-round fresh means that there are people who do not have a single sick day for a whole year.
According to this year’s report, the elderly are twice as often year-round compared to both men and women who are 40 years or younger.
And no, this is not about the younger ones having children and being forced to deal with preschool bacilli.
“You could think so, and those who have toddlers are also slightly less year-round fresh. But even if we remove them, the pattern is the same. So that’s not the main explanation, “says Lars Hjalmarsson, Head of Job Health Index.
“Lower living habits of younger people”
Irene Jensen is Professor of Business Health at Karolinska Institutet. She sees several reasonable explanations.
“We know that the living habits get worse among the younger ones, you move less and you have more screening time. We may be depressed by being very inactive, she says.
At the same time, the mental ill health of the younger generations is just increasing. And when mental ill health is increasing, the inclination also increases to sickness even for less physical conditions. It’s simply easier to shake off a cold if you feel good at all.
“It is also speculated that younger people may not be equally prepared for the expectations and demands of working life. But there are no research results yet, says Irene Jensen.
Older people have better custom jobs
But before you get bitter and accept that you belong to the sick leave generation, there is another possible explanation. And it may be easier to take care without having to decode an entire generation.
“You know that those who are healthy and sustainable in their health are also those who stay longer at work. Those who get ill and get back in ruins and others disappear earlier from the job market or find other jobs later in their careers where they work better, says Irene Jensen.
Therefore, we will not always be healthier over the years. Outside, we also get the jobs that are better suited to our health. But we can not lean back and satisfy ourselves with that explanation, says Jensen.
“It’s probably a combination of everything behind the numbers,” she says.