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Working title: Secular trends in human health- related physical fitness. A systematic review

Occupational musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) are still a prevalent problem in spite of comprehensive ergonomic intervention research and corresponding actions at many workplaces. One of the possible reasons often discussed is the presumed general reduction in physical fitness in the general population during the recent half century. MSD could then be due to insufficient physical capacities even when the occupational physical demands seem decent.

In the scientific literature it is often assumed that physical fitness of the working population does change over time. Many studies report impairment but some also report improvements or no secular changes. Moreover, the statements are often based on mean values of suggested normal distributed measures impeding application of the results in working life.

The aim of the present literature review is to investigate any systematic changes in health-related physical fitness when also considering factors such as gender, profession, spare time activities, social class and geographic region. This kind of information may appear to be important as part of ergonomic intervention programs in some specific occupations.

Project duration

A full-length manuscript will be submitted to an international peer-reviewed journal ultimo 2018.


No external funding


The review is performed in cooperation between Dr. Kurt Jørgensen (main author) at Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports Sciences, University of Copenhagen and professor emeritus Jörgen Winkel at Department of Sociology and Work Science, Gothenburg University and Department of Management Engineering, Technical University of Denmark



Jörgen Winkel

Page Manager: Anders Östebo|Last update: 10/13/2017

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