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Sickness absence and other stories . . .

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: (Published 09 July 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g4423

A survey of sickness absence in eight European countries from 1980 to 2010 (European Journal of Public Health 2014, doi:10.1093/eurpub/cku075) shows that, contrary to stereotype, for most of this period the Dutch have taken four times as much sick leave as the Italians and Irish. Women are off sick more than men in every country, but especially in the Netherlands, and the gap is widening in five of the eight countries. This is not due to increased labour force participation by mothers of small children, and neither can it be explained by changes in the distribution of women and men across occupations or industries.

A long term follow-up study of 24 hour blood pressure measurements done more than 11 years ago in 12 randomly selected populations shows that different patterns carry different risks at different ages (Circulation 2014, doi:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.113.004876). Below 50 years of age, 24 hour diastolic pressure predicts coronary events, whereas over that age, isolated systolic and mixed hypertension are the predominant risk …

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