The long-term harm of a stressful work environment is greater than meets the eye.They may increase men’s risk of heart disease – a leading cause of heart disease in the U.S.

In a newly released study, two workplace factors influence the incidence of heart disease in men: job stress and effort-reward imbalance. Men who work in high-stress jobs where they feel they do not receive adequate rewards (such as wages) have twice the risk of heart disease than men who do not work under these conditions. Men who have a stressful job or who feel their efforts are unrewarded have a 49% increased risk of heart disease. The increased risk of heart disease was comparable to the risk posed by obesity, the authors reported.

“Given the large amount of time people spend at work, understanding the relationship between work stressors and cardiovascular health is critical for public health and workforce well-being,” said study author doctoral student in Population Health and Population Research Institute Mathilde Lavigne-Robichaud said.The best health practices research unit of the Université du Québec Laval research center said in the report Press release. “Our research highlights the urgent need to proactively address stressful working conditions and create healthier workplaces that benefit both employees and employers.”

The study was published Tuesday in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and OutcomesThe American Heart Association’s peer-reviewed journal tracked 6,500 Canadian white-collar workers from 2000 to 2018 with an average age of 45. They measured job stress levels and the extent of perceived effort and reward imbalance, compared with the incidence of heart disease over two decades.

“Job stress refers to a work environment in which employees face high job demands and low job control,” Lavigne-Robichaud said in the release. “Effort-reward imbalance occurs when employees put in a lot of effort at work, but they feel that the rewards they receive (such as salary, recognition, or job security) are insufficient or unequal relative to the effort they expend.”

As employees continue to worry about their job security in an unstable economy, coupled with mandates to return to the office and ongoing layoffs across industries, stress is building in offices.

Work pressure is increasing

Nearly half (44%) of employees feel “a lot of stress” according to a survey of more than 100,000 employees released this year The state of the global workplace Report.Likewise, 49% of employees said they feel fearful at work at least once a week, according to a 2023 report Employee attitudes towards mental health From the headspace.

Additionally, approximately two-thirds of U.S. workers face toxic work environments, ranging from unethical practices and policies to outright bullying. Experts are calling for prioritizing employee well-being, such as mental health benefits.

“The American workforce is one of the most stressed in the world, and these workplace stressors may be as harmful to health as obesity and second-hand smoke,” Dr. Eduardo Sanchez, chief medical officer for prevention at the American Heart Association, said in a press release. “This study is further evidence that the workplace should prioritize being a tool to promote cardiovascular health for all.”

Tips for improving heart health

Here are eight ways to improve your heart health, according to the American Heart Association American Heart Association.


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