Researchers theorize that this connection could be due to the fact that workers don’t have the space to eat healthy and work out.
According to a new report, long work hours aren’t only emotionally exhausting. These hours have been linked with a higher risk of heart disease and strokes.
The study was published in the journal Environmental International, and it was the first global peer reviewed analysis of its kind. It defined long work hours as working over 55 hours a week, and found that people who followed these schedules had 35% higher risk of a stroke and 17% risk of heart disease when compared to people who worked for 35 to 40 hours a week.
The study focused specifically on 2016 and found that long work hours were connected to 745,194 deaths from strokes and heart disease.
“With working long hours now known to be responsible for about one-third of the total estimated work-related burden of disease, it is established as the risk factor with the largest occupational disease burden,” explains the World Health Organization (WHO).
The WHO warns that long work hours are on the rise all over the world, especially now that a lot of people are working from home and are finding it difficult to excuse logging off at any particular time.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly changed the way many people work,“ said WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
“Teleworking has become the norm in many industries, often blurring the boundaries between home and work. In addition, many businesses have been forced to scale back or shut down operations to save money, and people who are still on the payroll end up working longer hours. No job is worth the risk of stroke or heart disease. Governments, employers and workers need to work together to agree on limits to protect the health of workers.”
Long and grueling work hours have long been linked to poor health, ranging from colds and flus to plenty of emotional imbalances. While this study is the first of its kind in scope, it isn’t the first to suggest that there’s a link that exists between heart disease and work stress. Researchers theorize that this connection could be due to the fact that workers only have time to work and don’t have the space to eat healthy and work out. Other factors to consider include stress, age, and gender.