The Best and Worst Jobs for Heart Health
If you’re like most Americans, then it might feel like you spend more hours working than anything else. It’s not just your imagination: most people spend at least ten hours a day working and six hours sleeping, leaving only a small portion of time for other activities and relationships. This means that your job will strongly dictate your overall health, especially your heart health. Recent research has unveiled the best and worst jobs for heart health, so you might want to listen up.
It may not come as a shock to many that truck driving is one of the worst jobs for heart health, considering it involves endless hours of sitting and a limited ability for eating fresh, healthy food, but the second worst job comes as a surprise. Social service workers are also the least likely to be heart healthy! This information comes from a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which measured the heart health of more than 66,000 employees across 21 states in 22 job positions.
The American Heart Association (AHA) outlines seven metrics that mark a person’s level of heart health: smoker or non-smoker, level of physical activity, blood pressure, blood glucose, weight, cholesterol, and diet. Only 3.5 percent of all 66,000 employees in the study met all seven of the heart-healthy metrics. Truck drivers and social service employees were the least likely to meet less than three of the metrics, making them the least heart-healthy professions.
It turns out that those in the farming, fishing, and forestry occupations had the lowest percentage of employees hitting two or fewer of the health metrics. Unfortunately, the CDC’s study did not establish direct causation, so it cannot be confirmed why farming, fishing, and forestry are dramatically healthier professions than truck driving and social services. It can be assumed, however, that those in the farming, fishing, and forestry industries are less likely to smoke and get more physical activity, leading to better weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels.
Cardiovascular disease is the nation’s top killer, so the CDC’s study should serve as a wakeup call to men and women in all professions. The heart cannot be taken for granted, and heart health needs to be very purposefully protected with exercise, smoking cessation, and smart food choices. It only takes a change in one or two of the AHA’s metrics to transform health and give somebody a longer, more enjoyable life.