Working Longer Hours May Increase Alcohol Consumption

By Maria Slither - 16 Jan '15 08:29AM

A recent research published this week in the British Medical Journal said that working long hours is directly related to high alcohol consumption and people who work longer tend to drink more than those who stayed in the usual number of hours, NYMag reports.

The study uses a cross sectional analysis of 333,693 people in 14 countries and has found out that people who work longer are likely to increase alcohol consumption up to 11%. The researchers also analyze the behavior of some 100,602 people from 9 countries and came up with similar results saying that working long hours contribute to 12% for the onset of risky alcohol consumption.

Lead researcher, Marianna Virtanen of the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health defined 'long hours' as more than 48 hours and 'risky alcohol consumption' equivalent to more than 14 drinks for women and 21 drinks for men in a week. The researchers used the guidelines previously set by the International Centre for Alcohol Policies in Europe.

According to NPR, these values are quite higher than those imposed by US standards saying that risky alcohol consumption accounts for more than 7 drinks per week for women and more than 14 drinks for men.

The study has stirred quite an attention among workers in the US since most of them work for more than 50 hours per week according to a 2014 Gallup poll.

Time Magazine has pointed out the consequences of these findings reiterating the fact that abusive alcohol intake may lead to a lot of health damages that may further affect their productivity in the workplace.

"If people are [engaging in] risky drinking, they don't sleep well, they're not as socially engaged. It's really important for work places to pay attention to the productivity of their workers and work environment," Cassandra Okechukwu, an assistant professor at the Harvard School of Public Health said.

Okechukwu, who wrote an editorial when the study was released further said that people across socio-economic groups use alcohol to unwind.

To date, the European Union Working Time Directive has encouraged workers to limit working hours up to 48 hours. The US has a different scenario with only a few labor policies regulating working hours are available.

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