Long Work Hours Harms Women’s Health

Long Work Hours Harms Women’s Health

Mia Hamm dominated women’s soccer between 1987 and 2004. Then in 2007, she had twin girls and in 2012, a son. “Life off the field has been just as demanding and hectic as training for the Olympics or world titles,” she’s confessed. Mia is lucky she didn’t have to juggle both at the same time! Turns out that the one-two combination of kids and work can take a serious toll on women.

A study from Ohio State shows when women work 50 to 60+ hours a week during their 20s, 30s, and 40s, they amp up their risk for health problems down the road. Looking at long-range job history and health data for 7,492 participants in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, researchers found most working women, but not men, have an increased risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. (Men and women both risk arthritis.)

Working 41-50 hours a week (about 56 percent of folks) ups a women’s risk slightly—51+ hours is more risky—and averaging a 60-hour workweek over three decades dangerously triples their risk of those life-altering diseases. Fortunately, there’s something you can do.

  • Daily de-stressing: Meditate for 15 minutes; get 30 minutes of physical activity (an after-dinner family walk), connect with friends, and don’t short-change yourself on sleep!
  • Prioritize tasks at work and home: Try to eliminate unnecessary activities. If possible, ask your boss about working from home; around 37 percent of workers do it occasionally; they’re just as productive as when they are in the office.

More On

Lose Weight, Get Healthy and Avoid Eating Disorders

article

Lose Weight, Get Healthy and Avoid Eating Disorders
If you're a woman, it's likely that you or other women you know are wondering how to lose weight and get healthy. Doonesbury cartoonist Gary Trudeau g...
What It Feels Like to Have Endometriosis

article

What It Feels Like to Have Endometriosis
Imagine how it’d feel to have 100 sharp knives piercing your abdomen. Bleeding heavily, not knowing when it’ll end. Feeling so fatigued that everyday ...
What Is Postpartum Depression (PPD)?

video

What Is Postpartum Depression (PPD)?
Many new moms have postpartum depression or worry about it. Learn how hospitals help women cope and move beyond depression after pregnancy from Juliet...
Does Aspirin Therapy Help Prevent Heart Attacks in Women?

video

Does Aspirin Therapy Help Prevent Heart Attacks in Women?
Aspirin is not a safe medication for everyone; it's only recommended if you have multiple risk factors for heart disease, so consult your doctor befor...