An investigation group, consisting of all 1313 employees in the age range 50-59 years, in 1975 was called during working time to the Company's Physical Training Centre to have certain risk factors assessed. The evaluation included an interview which covered risk factors such as smoking and exercise habits and measurements such as systolic blood pressure, height, weight and certain anthropometric measurements. Information was also obtained from the personnel records regarding sex, age, form of employment, education code and reported sick leave in 1974 and 1975 for the workers, and between 1970 and 1975 for the salaried employees. The total number of dropouts was 238, or 18%. Absenteeism among those who did not participate in the interview and measurements was markedly higher than for those who did. The fact that this group dropped out of the investigation implies a high risk and a need for preventive programmes. The single risk factor that showed the strongest connection with absenteeism was a low degree of physical activity during leisure hours. The design of this study as a cross-section investigation limits its use to assessing the current degree of correlation between different risk factors and absenteeism. We cannot, then, predict future illness on the basis of these findings.