Another good reason not to work so long each week

Taking flexible working to new heights. Ian Gavan/Getty Images for O2

Science has come up with another reason why you should ease back on those long working days.

Research just published in the Lancet medical journal shows that working 55 hours or more each week is linked to a one-third greater risk of stroke.

And then there’s a more modest 13% increased risk of developing coronary heart disease compared with working a standard 35 to 40 hour week

The results are based on the largest study in this field so far, involving more than 600,000 people.

Mika Kivimäki, Professor of Epidemiology at University College London, UK, and colleagues did a systematic review and analysis of published studies and unpublished data examining the effects of longer working hours on cardiovascular disease.

They analysed data from studies of men and women from Europe, the US and Australia who were followed for an average of 8.5 years.

The risk of heart disease from long work hours remained even after taking into account behaviours such as smoking, alcohol consumption and physical activity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

And the researchers found that the longer people worked, the higher their chances of a stroke.

Those 60 hour weeks might not be a good idea.

According to the OECD, about 14% of employees in Australia work very long hours, 50 hours or more a week.

Overall, more men work very long hours. In Australia 21% of men work very long hours, compared with 6% for women.

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