Your heart might not seem like it needs immediate attention – after all, it isn’t as visible as the rest of your body. However, it’s a vital part, and a new study has linked certain jobs to poor heart health.
To draw their conclusions, researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looked at seven measures of heart health in 66,000 employees across 22 occupations in 21 different states. The “ideal” measures, as defined by the American Heart Association, are weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, physical activity, diet, and cigarette use.
The report showed that meeting six or seven of these metrics could potentially reduce the risk of dying of heart disease, compared to those who meet one or none. Just 3.5 percent of the study participants met all seven of the heart-healthy metrics. Only 9.5 percent of people met two or fewer of the factors.
Approximately 14 percent of community, transportation, “material moving,” and social services employees met two or fewer of the heart health metrics. The researchers concluded that this made these candidates less likely to be “heart healthy.”
Around 5 percent of farming, forestry, fishing, arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media workers only achieved two or less of the heart health factors. This meant that they were more likely to have better heart health. However, the authors of the report were quick to note that a number of factors impact individuals’ heart health – it isn’t solely based on careers.
“It is important to consider the impact that occupational factors might have on the metrics, including such factors as exposure to chemical and physical agents; workplace stress and adverse work organization related to workload and total hours; shift rotation; job assignment and design; and organizational culture,” the authors wrote in their report. “Additional research is needed to elucidate the relationship between work factors and cardiovascular health.”
That being said, the AHA predicts that by 2030, about 43 percent of the U.S. population will have some type of cardiovascular disease. This can result in a drop in productivity and a rise in healthcare costs.
“The workplace is a viable and necessary site for carrying out cardiovascular health interventions, and attention to work conditions as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease warrants further consideration,” the authors conclude.
By taking even a few of the seven heart health factors into the account, we can all do a bit more for the sake of our overall well-being.
Shockey, Taylor. Sussell, Aaron. Odom, Erika. “Cardiovascular Health Status by Occupational Group.” CDC. Published August 12, 2016.
Miller, Sara. “These Jobs Are Linked to the Worst Heart Health.” LiveScience. Published August 11, 2016.