Research/studies Worker health and wellness

Study links long work hours to risky drinking

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Helsinki, Finland – People who work more than 48 hours per week are more likely to drink potentially dangerous amounts of alcohol, a new study suggests.

Researchers from the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health and other institutions performed a cross-sectional analysis involving more than 330,000 people in 14 countries. They discovered that the likelihood of "risky" drinking (more than 14 drinks per week for women and more than 21 drinks per week for men) increased by 11 percent among employees who worked long hours. In addition, a prospective analysis of more than 100,000 people in nine countries showed that the chance of risky alcohol use increased 12 percent.

Employees who worked 49-54 hours had a 13 percent higher chance of risky drinking than people who worked 35-40 hours per week, according to data from 18 prospective studies. People working at least 55 hours had a 12 percent higher risk.

Excessive drinking can increase the risk for health conditions such as liver disease, heart disease and cancer, the research states.

The study was published online Jan. 13 in BMJ.