Research published in the journal Heart, has found that middle aged Caucasian men that have low physical fitness and work long hours are 50% more likely die of heart disease than those who work the same hours in a week but are in good physical order.
A team lead by Andreas Holtermann at the National Research Centre for the Working Environment, Copenhagen, studied 5000 men aged 40 to 59 years old, working at different companies and occupations, for over 30 years.
Physical fitness was estimated using a bicycle stress test and the number of hours worked was obtained from regular questionnaires.
The results revealed that almost 12% of participants died because of ischaemic heart disease.
Cox analyses adjusted for age, blood pressure, smoking, alcohol, body mass index, diabetes, hypertension, physical work demands and social class, showed that working more than 45 hours per week was associated with an increased risk of IHD mortality in the least fit
The study concluded that “working more than 45 hours a week is associated with more than a doubled risk of death from heart disease among men with low physical fitness, but not among men with moderate or high physical fitness, is a new observation.”
If the relationship is causal, it obviously has major implications for the prevention of heart disease.