Working for an extra three or four hours a day on a regular basis increases the risk of heart disease and death by up to 60 per cent, a study has warned.
The study, published online in the European Heart Journal, found that overtime is bad for health, as it causes more stress.
Researchers studied a group of more than 6,000 British civil servants aged between 39 and 61, over an average period of 11 years.
They found that working 10 or 11 hour days, in comparison with the average seven hour day, increased the risk of heart problems such as heart attack or angina, by up to 60 per cent. This remained true even when factors such as age, weight and habits such as smoking were taken into account.
Marianna Virtanen, an epidemiologist at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health in Helsinki and University College London, led the study.
Cathy Ross, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, which part-funded the research, said: “This study raises further questions about how our working lives can influence our risk of heart disease.
“Until researchers understand how our working lives can affect the risk to our heart health, there are simple ways to look after your heart health at work, like taking a brisk walk at lunch, taking the stairs instead of the lift, or by swapping that biscuit for a piece of fruit.”