The association of mobility disability and weight status with risk of disability pension: A prospective cohort study

Mattias Norrbäck, Jeroen de Munter, Per Tynelius, Gerd Ahlström, Finn Rasmussen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    BACKGROUND/AIMS: Mobility disability (MD) and obesity are conditions which have been associated with weaker labour market attachment. This study investigates whether the combined burden of MD and obesity increase the risk of disability pension compared with having only one of these conditions (the reference group).

    METHODS: A nationwide cohort study, based on national surveys made between 1996 and 2011, was conducted including 50,015 individuals aged 19-64 years who were followed-up in a large database in terms of attainment of disability pension until 31 December 2012 (at the latest). Proportional hazards regression models were used to analyse the risk of all-cause and diagnosis-specific disability pension with six exposure groups, established by mobility and weight status (BMI) obtained through self-reports.

    RESULTS: A total of 2296 participants had received disability pension after a mean follow-up period of 7.2 years (SD 4.6). People with MD, regardless of weight, had 4-8 times higher risk of disability pension (for any reason) compared with the reference group (individuals with normal weight and no MD).

    CONCLUSIONS: No evidence of a double burden of MD and obesity with disability pension was observed in this study. MD seemed to contribute more to the risk of disability pension than weight status. In a long-term perspective, society and also people at risk of these disabling conditions would benefit from reallocation of resources from disability pensions to health-promoting and preventive policies, not least targeting MD.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)541-547
    JournalScandinavian Journal of Public Health
    Issue number5
    Early online date2017 Jun 1
    Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jul

    Subject classification (UKÄ)

    • Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology


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