WHO: Working long hours kills about 745,000 people each year

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Working Long Hours Kills 745,000 People a Year, Study Finds.The study, conducted with the International Labour Organization (ILO), is the first global study of its kind.It found that in 2016, 745,000 people died from stroke and heart disease related to working long hours.People in South East Asia and the Western Pacific were found to be the most affected.Those who work over 55 hours a week were found to have a 35% greater risk of stroke and 17% more of a chance of dying from heart disease.According to researchers, there are two ways workers were affected by working long hours.First, they encountered physiological responses to stress.Second, longer hours left workers more susceptible to less sleep and exercise, an unhealthy diet, and increased tobacco and alcohol use.Almost three quarters of the people who died from working long hours in 2016 were middle-aged or older men.According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the recent shift to remote working amid the pandemic may have increased these risks.We have some evidence that shows that when countries go into national lockdown, the number of hours worked increase by about 10%, WHO technical officer Frank Pega, via statement

World Health Organization study finds overworking increases deaths from heart disease and stroke

The next time you hear someone say, “Work is killing me,” they might not be exaggerating.

According to a study by the World Health Organization and the International Labour Organization, working long hours a week led to about 145,000 deaths from stroke and ischemic heart disease in 2016, a 29% increase since 2000.

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In what WHO said is the first global analysis of the loss of life and health associated with working long hours, the groups estimate that, in 2016, 398,000 people died from stroke and 347,000 from heart disease as a result of working at least 55 hours a week. From 2000 to 2016, the number of deaths from heart disease from working long hours increased by 42%, and from stroke by 19%.

According to the study, which was published Monday in the journal Environment International, 72% of the deaths occurred in men. Most of the deaths were among people dying from 60-79 years old who had worked for 55 hours or more a week between the ages of 45 and 74.

The study links working 55 or more hours each week with an estimated 35% higher risk of a stroke and a 17% higher risk of dying from ischemic heart disease, compared to working 35-40 hours a week.

Other findings included:

» 488 million people worldwide were exposed to working long hours

» An estimated 745,194 deaths and 23.3 million disability-adjusted life years from ischemic heart disease and stroke combined were attributable to this exposure.

» The population-attributable fractions for deaths were 3.7% for ischemic heart disease and 6.9% for stroke

» The population-attributable fractions for disability-adjusted life years they were 5.3% for ischemic heart disease and 9.3% for stroke

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“The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly changed the way many people work,” Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of WHO, said in a press release. “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.”

Dr. Maria Neira, director of the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Health at WHO, added: “Working 55 hours or more per week is a serious health hazard. “It’s time that we all, governments, employers, and employees wake up to the fact that long working hours can lead to premature death.”

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