June 17, 2016

Women’s long work hours linked to chronic, life-threatening diseases

By: Judy Mathias

Editor's Note

Women who put in long hours of work over many years have an increased risk of chronic, life threatening illnesses, including heart disease, cancer, arthritis, and diabetes, this study finds.

Women’s work weeks that averaged 60 hours or more for more than 30 years tripled the risk of these diseases.

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Men with long work weeks fared better. Women take on the biggest share of family responsibility and may face more pressure and stress than men when they work long hours, the author says.


Objectives: This study aims at evaluating the chronic disease risk related to prolonged work in long-hour schedules for eight major chronic diseases: heart disease, non-skin cancer, arthritis, diabetes, chronic lung disease, asthma, chronic depression, and hypertension. Methods: The study used data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, 1979 covering 32 years of job history (1978 to 2009) for 7492 respondents.


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