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Working 55hrs weekly increasing deaths from heart disease, stroke -WHO, ILO

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) say long working hours are increasing deaths from heart disease and stroke. According to…

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) say long working hours are increasing deaths from heart disease and stroke.

According to the latest estimates published by both organisations in Environment International on Monday, long working hours led to 745,000 deaths from stroke and ischemic heart disease in 2016; a 29 per cent increase since 2000.

WHO and ILO, in a first global analysis of the loss of life and health associated with working long hours, estimate that in 2016, 398,000 people died from stroke and 347,000 from heart disease as a result of having worked at least 55 hours a week.

Between 2000 and 2016, the number of deaths from heart disease due to working long hours increased by 42%, and from stroke by 19%.

In a statement, the WHO said work-related disease burden is particularly significant in men (72% of deaths occurred among males), people living in the Western Pacific and South East Asia, and middle-aged or older workers. Most of the deaths recorded were among people dying aged 60 to 79 who had worked for 55 hours or more per week between the ages of 45 and 74.

“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. This shifts thinking towards a relatively new and more psychosocial occupational risk factor to human health.

“The study concludes that working 55 or more hours per week is associated with an estimated 35% higher risk of a stroke and a 17% higher risk of dying from ischemic heart disease, compared to working 35 to 40 hours a week.

 

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