This Bad Work Habit Is Significantly Damaging Women's Health

July 1st 2016

Tricia Tongco

It's no secret that overworking isn't good for you, but new research has discovered that it's especially bad for women.

As Fusion reports, researchers from Ohio State University and Mayo Clinic followed 7,500 people over the course of 32 years to examine the relationship between working and disease. They found that clocking in 60 hours or more per week tripled a women's risk of developing diabetes, cancer, heart trouble, and arthritis, and working between 51 and 60 hours was correlated with high blood pressure and asthma.

What's interesting is that the same consequences were not seen in men, according to a statement by the team of researchers in the study: “For men, long hour work appeared only to affect the risk of contracting arthritis. No adverse effects were found for other conditions. In fact, working moderately long hours (41 or 50 hours per week) was actually associated with less risk of contracting heart disease, chronic lung disease, or depression."

So why does working longer hours have such a significantly larger impact on women and not men?

The answer, while not surprising, is still pretty depressing. In addition to working a full-time job, women are generally responsible for fulfilling a larger share of family obligations, according to the researchers. As Fusion reports, these domestic responsibilities include everything from housework to child rearing.

"Women – especially women who have to juggle multiple roles – feel the effects of intensive work experiences and that can set the table for a variety of illnesses and disability," Allard Dembe, professor of health services management and policy and lead author of the study, said in the press release.

What can women (and men) do?

Because overworking can lead to such serious health consequences, it's imperative that women work with their employers and partners to achieve more work-life balance. The researchers suggest that work places can offer more health screenings and more flexibility with scheduling, like the option to work from home. Since the majority of housework falls on women — in the U.S. women spend about twice as much time on it than men — partners can strive to split it up as equally as possible. Earlier this year, the #ShareTheLoad campaign went viral, encouraging men to step up their game when it comes to chores.

[h/t Fusion]