This study investigates whether work engagement influences self-perceived health, work ability, and sickness absence beyond health behaviors and work-related characteristics. Employees of two organizations participated in a six-month longitudinal study (n=733). Using questionnaires, information was collected on health behaviors, work-related characteristics, and work engagement at baseline, and self-perceived health, work ability, and sickness absence at six-month follow-up. Low work engagement was related with low work ability (OR:3.68, 95%, CI:2.15-6.30) and long-term sickness absence (OR:1.84, 95%, CI:1.04-3.27), after controlling for health behaviors (e.g., Body Mass Index, smoking) and work characteristics (e.g. job demands, autonomy). Work engagement increased the explained variance in work ability and sickness absence with 4.1% and 0.4%, respectively. In conclusion: work engagement contributes to work ability beyond health behaviors and work-related characteristics (read more).