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Investment Banking May Be Bad For You, Study Finds -- And 7 Other Jobs Linked With Health Risks

Job Health Problems

The Huffington Post   First Posted: 02/16/2012 8:31 am Updated: 02/21/2012 11:20 am

According to a recent study from the University of Southern California, Wall Street life may not be as great as it seems -- at least, when it comes to health

The study, to be published in the journal Administrative Science Quarterly, looked at two dozen young investment bankers who worked between 80 to 120 hours a week (going to work around 6 a.m. and leaving work around midnight, according to the Wall Street Journal).

The researchers found that as time went on they had increased risks of health problems like alcoholism, arthritis and Crohn's disease.

Alden Cass, a clinical psychologist based in New York, told the Wall Street Journal that bankers have an increased risk of mental health issues and burnout because their jobs can be so volatile.

Just last year, a study conducted by Concordia University researchers in the journal BMC Public Health showed that stress in the workplace is only growing. Up to 26 percent of people in high-stress jobs have seen a health professional regarding a stress-related condition, according to the study.

Another study, published last year in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine, suggested that having a poorly paid and supported job is just as miserable as having no job at all.

It's understandable that the bills have to be paid somehow. So what's there to do if your job is just plain bumming you out -- mentally and/or physically?

WebMD recommends making sure to have some free time in your weekly schedule, whether it's spent with friends or your significant other, as well as time to exercise.

"Research shows exercise can help you to be more alert," Robert Brooks, PhD, co-author of "The Power of Resilience: Achieving Balance, Confidence, and Personal Strength in Your Life," told WebMD. "And I've noticed that when I don't exercise because I'm trying to squeeze in another half hour of writing, I don't feel as alert."

And for those of us who are desk jockeys, it's not hard to be reminded that we sit and sit and sit for eight or more hours a day -- which many studies have shown is linked with an increased risk of diabetes, cancer and even death.

To stay fit at your desk, there are a number of healthy choices you can make, like taking walking meetings instead of sitting meetings, stretching regularly and taking the stairs to the upper floor instead of the elevator.

[For more ways to stay active at your desk, click here.]

Of course, every job comes with its health risks. Here's a round-up of seven kinds of jobs that have been linked to certain physical and mental health issues.

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  • "Standing" Jobs And Arthritis

    Everyday Health reported that <a href="" target="_hplink">foot arthritis</a> can be a health risk for people who have to stand a lot for work -- including teachers -- because they are on their feet all day. Therefore, people who have to <a href="" target="_hplink">stand a lot for their jobs</a> should choose to regularly wear comfortable shoes and not high heels, according to Everyday Health, because wearing high heels can put stress on the joints in your feet. In fact, standing too long -- as well as other factors like being overweight or having higher or flat arches -- are linked with an increased risk of <a href="" target="_hplink">many kinds of arthritis</a>, according to <em>Arthritis Today</em>.

  • Soldiers And Stress

    The <a href="" target="_hplink">enlisted solider</a> topped this year's ranking of the most stressful jobs. The ranking took into account factors like physical demands, risks to your life or to others' lives, competitiveness, deadlines and meeting with the public. <a href="" target="_hplink">Firefighters</a> ranked second on the 2012 list, and <a href="" target="_hplink">airline pilots</a> ranked third.

  • Dancers And Divorce

    According to 2000 Census data analyzed in a Radford University study, <a href="" target="_hplink">dancers have the highest rate of divorce</a>, at 43 percent, and bartenders have the second highest rate, at 38 percent, <em>Men's Health</em> reported. Other surprising jobs also made the top list, with roofers having a 27 percent divorce rate and sailors having a 26 percent divorce rate, according to <em>Men's Health</em>. (<a href="" target="_hplink">For reasons why, read the <em>Men's Health</em> piece.</a>)

  • Construction Work And Lung Problems reported that <a href=",,20443619_2,00.html" target="_hplink">inhaled dust from construction</a> could put workers at risk for lung problems like cancer, asbestosis and mesothelioma. In fact, occupational lung disease is the No. 1 cause of <a href="" target="_hplink">work-related illness</a>, according to Oregon State University. Symptoms include chest tightness, coughing, shortness of breath and breathing abnormally, according to OSU, and the disease can be caused by either by long-term exposure to the hazard, or by a particularly bad one-time exposure to the hazard.

  • Personal Caregivers And Depression

    People whose job it is to <a href=",,20428990_2,00.html" target="_hplink">care for someone</a> -- for example, nursing home workers -- have the highest rate of depression, reported. Eleven percent of people in this field of work have had a major depressive episode. Comparatively, 13 percent of unemployed people and 7 percent of the general population has had a major depressive episode. "It is stressful, seeing people sick and not getting a lot of positive reinforcement," clinical psychologist Christopher Willard, of Tufts University, <a href=",,20428990_2,00.html" target="_hplink">told</a>. Last year, Reuters reported the results of a survey that showed that one in four people who <a href="" target="_hplink">care for an elderly relative</a> or friend have depression.

  • Shift Workers And Sleep Problems

    There have been numerous studies showing the potential health problems of shift workers, and a big one is sleep. In fact, there's a name for it -- <a href="" target="_hplink">shift work sleep disorder</a> -- and it's caused by the different sleep and wake schedules of people who work at nontraditional hours of the day, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Symptoms of shift work sleep disorder include having no energy, having headaches and finding it difficult to concentrate, the <a href="" target="_hplink">Cleveland Clinic reported</a>. As a result, the risk is raised of work-related mistakes, accidents, mood problems and taking sick leave.

  • Overtime Work And Depression

    Working overtime -- 11 or more hours a day -- is linked with a more than <a href="" target="_hplink">doubled risk of a major depressive episode</a>, compared with people who work the more standard seven to eight hours a day, according to a recent <em>PLoS ONE</em> study. Researchers from the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health and University College London looked at health and work data from 2,000 middle-aged Brits over a nearly 6-year period, and saw that there was a definite link between overtime hours worked and depression risk. And for more health risks associated with working long hours, <a href="" target="_hplink">click here</a>.

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