A new study published in the British Medical Journal shows that people who work long hours are more prone to become binge drinkers. The findings revealed that people who work more than 48 hours a week are more exposed to alcohol abuse.
Also, a recent report issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that binge drinking kills more middle-aged people that college students.
These findings should be a wake-up call for Americans, who reportedly work longer hours than many other developed nations. In the U.S., studies show that the number of professional and middle-income people who work more than 50 hours a week is on a constant rise since 1979.
Plus, an American works on average 41 hours per week, a Frenchman works 35.7, a German 36.9, while a Spaniard works 34.6 hours on an average. Americans are also more likely to work weekends (29.2 percent) as compared with the French (21.8 percent), Germans (22.4 percent) and the Spanish (9.6 percent). Also, about 26.6 percent of the U.S. employees work nights, while Germany, France and Spain have less than 13 percent of night shifters.
Moreover, Americans are champions at digital overtime with 22 percent being expected to reply to e-mails when not at work, while 50 percent check work e-mail on weekends, 46 percent check work e-mail on sick days, and 34 percent check work e-mail while on vacation.
The new study found troublesome changes in the relationship between working and drinking when people started overworking. Results showed that people working more than 48 hours a week had an 11 percent increased chance of turning to risky drinking than people who worked up to 40 hours a week.
The authors of the study defined “risky drinking” as more than 21 drinks a week for a man, or 14 drinks a week for a woman. Still, researchers weren’t able to establish a definite causal link between heavy working and heavy drinking. However, a link does exist.
The researchers proposed several explanations for the phenomenon. For instance, people attracted by competitive jobs may also be genetically prone to heavy drinking.
Also, time constraints of overworking may be the cause workers choose to alleviate stress by alcohol use, than by other time-consuming activities such as watching TV or going for a walk/ play sports.
By performing the study, its authors wanted to warn the E.U. against the risks posed by allowing too many exception to a European Union Directive that doesn’t allow people work more than 48 hours per week on European territory.
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