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Global, regional, and national burdens of ischemic heart disease and stroke attributable to exposure to long working hours for 194 countries, 2000-2016: A systematic analysis from the WHO/ILO Joint Estimates of the Work-related Burden of Disease and Injury.

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World Health Organization (WHO) and International Labour Organization (ILO) systematic reviews reported sufficient evidence for higher risks of ischemic heart disease and stroke amongst people working long hours (≥55 hours/week), compared with people working standard hours (35-40 hours/week). This article presents WHO/ILO Joint Estimates of global, regional, and national exposure to long working hours, for 194 countries, and the attributable burdens of ischemic heart disease and stroke, for 183 countries, by sex and age, for 2000, 2010, and 2016.

Methods and findings

We calculated population-attributable fractions from estimates of the population exposed to long working hours and relative risks of exposure on the diseases from the systematic reviews. The exposed population was modelled using data from 2324 cross-sectional surveys and 1742 quarterly survey datasets. Attributable disease burdens were estimated by applying the population-attributable fractions to WHO's Global Health Estimates of total disease burdens.


In 2016, 488 million people (95% uncertainty range: 472-503 million), or 8.9% (8.6-9.1) of the global population, were exposed to working long hours (≥55 hours/week). An estimated 745,194 deaths (705,786-784,601) and 23.3 million disability-adjusted life years (22.2-24.4) from ischemic heart disease and stroke combined were attributable to this exposure. The population-attributable fractions for deaths were 3.7% (3.4-4.0) for ischemic heart disease and 6.9% for stroke (6.4-7.5); for disability-adjusted life years they were 5.3% (4.9-5.6) for ischemic heart disease and 9.3% (8.7-9.9) for stroke.


WHO and ILO estimate exposure to long working hours (≥55 hours/week) is common and causes large attributable burdens of ischemic heart disease and stroke. Protecting and promoting occupational and workers' safety and health requires interventions to reduce hazardous long working hours.

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