Washington, Feb 5 : If the number of sick leaves they take is any indication, then it seems that the fairer sex is more prone to falling ill, for a new study has found that female workers take almost 50 per cent more short-term sick leave than their male counterparts.
Researchers at the University of Helsinki in Finland showed that women were 46 per cent more likely to be off work for between one to three days, which does not require a sick note.
However, the researchers also showed that female employees don't take more long-term sick leave.
For the study, the team assessed periods of sick leave among almost 7000 municipal workers in Helsinki, Finland, between 2002 and 2005.
The employees, who were all aged between 40 and 60, were also quizzed about their working lives and general health.
The findings showed that physical health problems, physical work demands, and work fatigue were more commonly reported by women.
And they were 46 per cent more likely than men to call in sick for short periods of a few days.
They were also a third more likely to take short-term sick leave, certified by a doctor, the researchers found.
But diagnosed illness explained only about a third of the difference in spells of self-certified sick leave and about half of that certified by a doctor.
The authors suggest that women may be better at recognising problems and going to the doctor for treatment.
Researchers said that the reasons for the difference could include women finding their work more physically demanding.
Alternatively, they might simply be more organised about seeing a doctor and getting signed off work when ill.
The findings are published in Occupational and Environmental Medicine.