Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Original research
Risk of major chronic diseases in transport, rescue and security industries: a longitudinal register-based study
  1. Kimmo Herttua1,
  2. Linda Juel Ahrenfeldt1,
  3. Tapio Paljarvi2
  1. 1Department of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark
  2. 2Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Kimmo Herttua, Department of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark, 6705 Esbjerg, Denmark; kherttua{at}


Objective To investigate the risk of hospitalisation for major chronic diseases across representative transport, rescue and security industries.

Methods We performed a register-based study of 624 571 workers from six industries in Denmark between 2000 and 2005, followed up hospitalisation for chronic diseases up to 17 years, and compared with a 20% random sample of the economically active population.

Results HR from the Cox regression models showed that seafarers had higher risk of lung cancer (men: 1.54, 95% CI 1.31 to 1.81; women: 1.63, 95% CI 1.13 to 2.36), and male seafarers had higher risk of diabetes (1.32, 95% CI 1.21 to 1.43) and oral cancer (1.51, 95% CI 1.21 to 1.88). Men and women in land transport had increased risk of diabetes (men: 1.68, 95% CI 1.63 to 1.73; women 1.55, 95% CI 1.40 to 1.71) and chronic respiratory disease (men: 1.21, 95% CI 1.16 to 1.25; women 1.42, 95% CI 1.32 to 1.53). Among women, a higher risk of gastrointestinal cancer was observed in aviation (1.53, 95% CI 1.23 to 1.89) and police force (1.29, 95% CI 1.01 to 1.65), oral cancer in defence forces (1.83, 95% CI 1.20 to 2.79), and chronic respiratory disease in rescue service (1.47, 95% CI 1.21 to 1.77), while men in defence forces, police force and rescue service had mainly lower risk of these chronic diseases.

Conclusions We observed considerable health disparities from chronic diseases across transport, rescue and security industries, with workers in seafaring and land transport generally bearing the greatest relative burden.

  • occupational health
  • longitudinal studies
  • epidemiology

Data availability statement

Data may be obtained from a third party and are not publicly available. The data used for this study were obtained from Statistics Denmark.

Statistics from

Data availability statement

Data may be obtained from a third party and are not publicly available. The data used for this study were obtained from Statistics Denmark.

View Full Text


  • Contributors KH and TP contributed to conception and design of the study. KH analysed the data and drafted the manuscript. KH, LJA and TP contributed to interpretation of the data and critically revised drafts of the work for intellectual content. KH, LJA and TP revised the paper after review. All authors have read and approved the final manuscript to be published and agree to be accountable for all aspects of the work.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.