Working This Many Hours A Week May Cause Serious Health Problems For Women

When it's 3 pm and you're rotting quietly at your desk, wondering why your workplace is the only one that doesn't treat its employees to summer Fridays, you need the perfect excuse to leave early. Luckily, science has you covered.

Working women are putting in overtime at the office, and it's not just earning them promotions. It's ruining their bodies and minds.

Newly published research compiled over a 30-year period shows women who worked 60 hours a week were at triple the risk for a wide variety of health problems. Those included but weren't limited to cancer, arthritis and diabetes.

Perhaps pop star Rihanna sang it best with the groundbreaking lyrics, “work, work, work, work, work."

Lead author Allard Dembe said in a press release,

People don't think that much about how their early work experiences affect them down the road. Women in their 20s, 30s and 40s are setting themselves up for problems later in life.

The report compiled data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979. It surveyed thousands of men and women born between 1957 and 1963 about their professions and bodies. Analyzing 30 years of responses, the Ohio State University team found illness and problematic medical history could usually be tied to long hours at work for women. Part of the reason may be the traditional role of working women as homemakers, too, meaning tasks don't end at 5 pm. There's a family to feed and housekeeping to maintain. So, many women might basically be doing two full-time jobs at once.

Researchers also hypothesize women with demanding careers and home lives might take less pleasure from either because they're always caught between the two. Comparatively, long hours didn't seem to take a toll on men.

The study does have some limitations, however. Because survey responses only include early onset conditions, not the chronic kind, it's impossible to know if long hours also exacerbate pre-existing conditions. Furthermore, it doesn't allow for positions that don't always require long hours at the office.

The team hopes its research will finally push employers to start considering the potentially disastrous health consequences of demanding jobs, not to mention the potential cost of health care involved.

And there's good news, too. In the United States, Millennials average just 45 hours per week at their desks, but in countries like India, that number creeps above 50. A 2013 PricewaterhouseCoopers company-wide survey revealed this generation places a priority on the quality of hours worked, not the sheer number of them.

If you want to sneak home early, just send this to your boss and mosey on out.

Citations: Women's long work hours linked to alarming increases in cancer, heart disease (ScienMag)