Ever longer working hours and heart disease

Well, we know how this is going to get reported, don\’t we?

Staying late in the office or working overtime is bad for the heart, researchers warned yesterday.

A large study of British civil servants found that those who regularly worked 10 or 11-hour days were up to 60 per cent more likely to suffer heart disease or die younger than those who worked shorter hours.

It\’s the ever longer working hours that is killing us all and therefore we should ban long working hours….perhaps by signing up to the European 48 hour working week and the like.

What will be missed is the detail of the study:

Marianna Virtanen, who led the study at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health in Helsinki and University College London, said that possible explanations for the link included “hidden” high blood pressure that is not always picked up, stress, anxiety or depression, and being a “Type A” personality who is highly driven, aggressive or irritable.

What they have shown is a correlation, not causation. It might be, as the researchers themselves point out, that those who desire to work those longer hours are those who are more susceptible to heart disease.

There is also the interesting point that, as working hours have fallen over the past couple of centuries then the incidence of heart disease has gone up. Yes, there are interesting reasons for that too (like we now live long enough to get heart disease) but it most certainly ain\’t \”long hours cause heart disease\” in a simple sense.

Won\’t stop people claiming it is though.

8 thoughts on “Ever longer working hours and heart disease”

  1. View from the Solent

    I’d like to know where they found civil servants who regularly worked!

  2. The problem is all that extra inactivity.

    Or it could be that they stay at the office because they are terrified of their spouses who think they are spineless, snivelling parasites, the anxiety causing high blood pressure.

    For their own good we should sack the lot.

  3. Didn’t we have a report recently that Greeks work far longer than Germans? I wonder if heart disease differs between the two.

    Is it any wonder Greek retirement age is lower, they must all be about to keel over…

  4. JuliaM and View from the S are way too fast for me.

    I too find curious the use of the words ‘British Civil Servant’ and ‘worked’ in the same sentence.

    A misprint surely?

    Probably those Australian typesetters, profredders and subeditors.

  5. Hasn’t the theory that “Type A” is an indicator of predisposition to coronary disease been debunked?

  6. TDK:

    Not at all. They’ve just taken to calling those suffering coronary disease, Type A–there, all fixed.

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