Work can be stressful for a lot of people, but there are a handful of jobs that could actually be taking years off your life and increasing your risk of stroke and heart disease, according to a new study.
Researchers looked at more than 5,000 people age 45 and older in different careers in order to assess their heart health based on a variety of factors, including blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, smoking, physical activity, diet and body mass index.
What kinds of jobs have unhealthy employees?
The study found that middle-aged employees working in sales, office or food service jobs appear to have more risk factors that can harm heart health than people with professional or managerial jobs.
Police, firefighters, truckers and health care support workers also are more likely to have these risk factors.
Here are a few of the details from the study:
- Food service employees eat worse than people in any other profession.
- Many salespeople were found to have poor eating habits, high cholesterol and more often smoke.
- Administrative staff didn’t have time to be physically active.
- 90% of police officers and firefighters in the study were obese or overweight, while 77% had high cholesterol and 35% had high blood pressure.
- One out of every five transportation workers smoke, the highest rate of any occupation studied.
Managers and professionals had the best heart health, based on their risk factors. One-third had an ideal BMI; three out of four were at least moderately active; and only 6% were smokers.
72% of finance workers and white-collar professionals with business jobs had poor eating habits.
How to get healthier at work
According to the researchers, here are some tips to help you get healthier while on the job:
- If you crave carbohydrates when you’re tired and under pressure, remember that they do not provide sustainable energy — so reach for whole fruit or celery sticks in place of pastry, chips or candy.
- Adding physical activity, like a lunch-time walk, can also create multiple benefits since it can help you wind down, possibly improving sleep, and reducing stress-related eating and smoking.
See more on the study and what types of workers are at a higher risk of health issues here.