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Occupational health

It is an important challenge to enable persons to work longer in good health, in particular for vulnerable groups. Paid employment is an important determinant of health and health inequalities.

Society has to deal with large health inequalities in paid employment. Our research aims to contribute to the challenge of creating an inclusive labour market for all social groups. Important questions addressed by our research are: How important is work for health and how important is health for work? Is working until old age healthy or not? Which factors determine work ability and sustainable employment during the working life? How can workers with chronic diseases remain productive at work? What interventions and policies enhance sustainable employability? How (cost-)effective are these interventions and policies? We analyse data from large-scale epidemiological studies with state-of-the-art methods, and design, implement and evaluate interventions for sustainable employability among both unemployed and employed persons. To gain insight into the long-term effectiveness of interventions, and the consequences for the working life expectancy, we apply a life-course approach. We are specifically interested in vulnerable groups, e.g. individuals with chronic health problems, long-term unemployed individuals, and workers in a low socioeconomic position.

  • WORKLONG: Impact of interventions and policies on prolonging a healthy working life
  • Re-integration in bold cities, making use of big data to evaluate re-integration activities for unemployed persons
  • IPD meta-analysis on the differential effectiveness of Dutch workplace health promotion activities across socioeconomic groups on body mass index and health behaviour.

Yildiz BSchuring MKnoef MG, Burdorf A. Chronic diseases and multimorbidity among unemployed and employed persons in the Netherlands: a register-based cross-sectional study.

Schram JLD, Robroek SJW, Ots P, et al. Influence of changing working conditions on exit from paid employment among workers with a chronic disease [published online ahead of print, 2020 May 21]. Occup Environ Med. 2020;oemed-2019-106383. doi:10.1136/oemed-2019-106383

van de Ven D, Robroek SJW, Burdorf A. Are workplace health promotion programmes effective for all socioeconomic groups? A systematic review. Occup Environ Med. 2020;oemed-2019-106311. doi:10.1136/oemed-2019-106311


To staff information
Lex Burdorf Professor
Merel Schuring Assistant Professor
Heidi Lammers-van der Holst Assistant Professor