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Work and Health

Professor Han Anema, chair  
A considerable amount of the research in this field focuses on work-related disorders of the musculoskeletal system. These disorders account for almost one third of all absenteeism and work disability in the Netherlands . A number of other projects are being carried out in the field of psychological disorders, which are the main cause of absenteeism and work disability, and in the field of work vitality.
Research in the field of work and health concentrates mainly on five themes:
1.  Cost-effectiveness of prevention:  projects focused on primary and secondary prevention of work-related complaints of the muscular skeletal system.
2. Clinical and primary occupational health care:  projects focused on the evaluation of interventions for various disorders (e.g. low back pain, eczema of the hands, psychological complaints, hearing disorders, rheumatoid arthritis). The approach e.g. involves a participative approach, in which the worker plays an active role.
3.  Insurance medicine : projects focused on the scientific basis of insurance medicine practice, and also on the interaction during consultations between insurance physician and client, and the empowerment of clients.  

4.  Lifestyle and work:  projects focused on the evaluation of lifestyle interventions in the workplace, in which vitality is an important outcome measure. ┬┤Intervention mapping┬┤ is applied in many projects, i.e. an intervention is developed in collaboration with the interested parties.
5.  Return to work after sickness absence: consists of a number of projects in which interventions to stimulate a sustainable return to work after pregnancy leave or sickness absence are evaluated. 
In 2002, the research centre Body@Work was established, in close collaboration between the VU Medical Centre and TNO Quality of Life . One of the two most important fields of focus of Body@Work is work and health. The most recent development within the framework of this collaboration is the initiation of the Vital in Practice programme.