Do you work over 40 hours a week? If you live in the U.S., the answer could easily be yes. According to a Gallup poll, 50% of the population works 41 hours a week or more. 18% of the population works 60 hours a week or more. But does all of this work have an impact on your health?
One meta analysis compiled the results of 25 studies on long working hours and the incidence of coronary heart disease and stroke. The researchers found that compared to working between a 35 and 40 hour work week, those who worked 55 hours a week or more and a 33% greater risk of stroke and a 13% greater risk of coronary heart disease (after taking into account potential confounders like age and socioeconomic status). For the risk of a stroke, the researchers also found that working 41 to 48 hours a risk led to a 10% increased risk and working 49 to 54 hours led to a 27% increased risk.
It might not be the longer hours themselves that are causing the health risks. For example, it could be that people who work longer are more inactive or experience more stress and that’s what’s causing the health risks. Either way, you might want to spend a little less time in the office in order to improve your health.
Kivimäki, Mika, et al. “Long working hours and risk of coronary heart disease and stroke: a systematic review and meta-analysis of published and unpublished data for 603 838 individuals.” The Lancet (2015).