Americans are far from lazy when it comes to work. On average, Americans work more weeks per year than other industrialized countries with the exception of Japan (workers in this country, particularly lawyers, doctors and teachers have had a 70 percent increase in death rates over the last three decades). This, according to an article published last year by Newsweek magazine which also noted that our workers have fewer vacation and holidays, and work more hours during a 12-month period than other workers throughout the western world. Although the article was a response to a statement made by then presidential candidate Rick Perry, who in part said that Americans have become “a little bit lazy”, it makes for a perfect argument for the following.
According to the American Journal of Epidemiology, working long hours can increase your risk of coronary heart disease (CHD).
The report, authored by seven research scientists from the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, was first published September 5, 2012 and follows a long line of research on this topic dating back to 1958. The researchers found some similarities to the earlier studies, although not all studies were conclusive nor had consistent outcomes. However, there was a link to those working longer hours (more than 50 hours/week, greater than 10 hours/day) and the probability of cardiovascular problems including CHD or acute myocradial infarction (AMI) and angina.
Another contributing factor leading to heart disease, researchers surmised, was that people who spent more time in the workplace were less likely to eat healthy meals, therefore consuming more foods that could cause spikes in cholesterol and weight gain. Also, employees or employers who work overtime were reluctant to miss work when they became ill (sound familiar?), and winding down from long work hours has proven to be difficult for many.
In addition, the study posits that adults working extensive hours were prone to other health risks such as anxiety and depression, type 2 diabetes and sleep deprivation.
Lazy is far from what American workers can be called, but too much time at work can prove hazardous, even fatal to your health, especially your heart. And while you may not be able to cut back or even quit that ever-demanding job, you may be able to approach the way you work differently by considering the advice from Ronald E. Riggio, Ph.D, who outlines 5 ways to work smarter, not harder.
See also: Long Hours at Work May Boost Heart Attack Risk, My Health News, and this article by WebMD.
If you have found ways to cut back on working doggedly and extensively, please let us know. You can contact this heart health writer at this email address.