WHO study finds long hours at work may increase risk of stroke and death from heart disease
Notably, previous systematic reviews and meta-analyzes conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Labor Organization (ILO) comparing standard working hours of 35 to 40 hours per week with these 3 deadlines of overwork on the relative risk of IHD and stroke. reported that those who worked 55 or more hours per week were at higher risk for both conditions.
“Evidence from previous studies suggests that working long hours may increase mortality and morbidity from ischemic heart disease and stroke through psychosocial stress,” the study authors added.
As working hours are expected to increase in some industries with the introduction of new information and communication technologies, the two organizations sought to further quantify the impact of exposure to long working hours and workload. globally attributable morbidity.
They created the Joint WHO and ILO Workload Estimates of Work-Related Illnesses and Injuries (Joint WHO / ILO Estimates), which provided estimates of global, regional and national exposure to long working hours. hours or more per week for 194 countries and the burdens of HDI and stroke attributable to these estimates for 183 countries, by sex and age, for 2000, 2010 and 2016.
Based on the previous results of the systematic reviews, they calculated the population attributable fractions from estimates of the population exposed to long working hours and the relative risks of exposure to diseases.
“The exposed population was modeled using data from 2,324 cross-sectional surveys and 1,742 quarterly survey data sets,” the researchers explained. “The burdens attributable to disease were estimated by applying the population attributable fractions to the WHO global health estimates of the total burden of disease.”
Of the world’s population in 2016, 488 million people (95% uncertainty range [UR], 472 to 503 million) or 8.9% would have worked 55 hours or more per week, men and middle-aged adults being more frequently exposed. In addition, the global prevalence of exposure to long working hours increased by 9.3% (UR, 4.3% -14.6%) between 2000 and 2016.
Among those exposed, an estimated 745,194 (UR, 705,786-784,601) deaths and 23.3 million (UR, 22.2 to 24.4 million) disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) attributable to IHD and stroke combined. “It was roughly equal between the 2 causes, with DHI and stroke accounting for 46.5% and 53.5% of estimated deaths.”
Compared to employees working normal hours, those who worked 55 hours or more were associated with a 35% higher risk of stroke (relative risk [RR], 1.35; 95% CI, 1.13-1.61) and a 17% higher risk of dying from IHD (RR, 1.17; 95% CI, 1.05-1.31).
In addition, the population attributable fractions for deaths were 3.7% for IHD and 6.9% for stroke, while those for DALYs were 5.3% and 9.3%, respectively.
“Telecommuting has become the norm in many industries, often blurring the lines between home and work. Additionally, many businesses have been forced to scale down or shut down to save money, and people who still get paid end up working longer. hours, ”Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, said in a statement.
“No job is worth the risk of stroke or heart disease. Governments, employers and workers must work together to agree on limits to protect workers’ health. “
Pega F, Náfrádi B, Momen NC, et al. Global, regional and national burdens of ischemic heart disease and stroke attributable to exposure to long working hours in 194 countries, 2000-2016. About Int. Published online May 17, 2021. doi: 10.1016 / j.envint.2021.106595