People who work long hours are more likely to have a stroke, according to new research published in the Lancet medical journal.

Compared with a 35-40 hour working week, those spending up to 48 hours in the office had a 10% increased risk of a stroke, while a 54-hour week saw a 27% increase. Working for more than 55 hours raised the stroke risk by 33%.

This graph shows the average number of hours worked in 2013 (in member nations of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, or OECD).


Of all OECD nations, Mexicans worked the longest, putting in 2,237 hours per year, closely followed by South Koreans. At the other end of the scale, Germans worked the least, at 1,363 hours throughout the year.

US workers clocked up a similar number of hours to the OECD average: 1,770. But that’s still an extra 425 hours on average compared with their German colleagues – the equivalent of 53 working days.

Norwegian, Dutch, Danish and French workers join the Germans at the bottom of the table, all working fewer than 1,500 hours in a year.

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Author: Paul Muggeridge is Head of Content at Formative Content.

Image: REUTERS/Catherine Benson CRB