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Survey: 1 out of 6 workers say their job negatively affects their health

stressed worker

Photo: Squaredpixels/iStockphoto

Boston – A recent survey of U.S. workers shows 16 percent believe their job is having a negative impact on their health – with stress topping the list.

More than 1,600 non-self-employed adults who work at least 20 hours a week were surveyed by researchers from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and NPR.

Employees most likely to report that work had a negative effect on their health were people with disabilities (35 percent), those in hazardous jobs (27 percent), low-wage earners (26 percent), retail workers (26 percent) and workers who clock at least 50 hours per week (25 percent).

Stress was the most frequently identified negative impact, at 43 percent, followed by eating habits (28 percent), sleep (27 percent) and weight (22 percent).

“The takeaway here is that job number one for U.S. employers is to reduce stress in the workplace,” Robert J. Blendon, survey leader and Richard L. Menschel Professor of Health Policy and Political Analysis at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said in a press release.

Other findings:

  • 43 percent of construction or outdoor workers, 34 percent of medical workers and 30 percent of factory workers said their job has a negative impact on their health.
  • 51 percent of respondents said their workplace has a wellness program. However, only 20 percent participate in it.
  • 55 percent always or usually work when they have the flu or a cold, including 60 percent of medical workers and 50 percent of restaurant workers.

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