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Aging Health

How Your Job Affects Your Lifespan

While most everyone knows that things such as smoking, alcohol, and drug abuse are apt to shorten your life, you may not be aware that certain jobs can also reduce your lifespan. There is no doubt that some jobs (and hobbies) are more dangerous than others because of the tasks involved, but there are also more ordinary jobs that are apt to shorten your life that you may never think of. If you want to live longer, you will want to avoid certain career fields.

The Impact of Stress

A job that induces a lot of stress regularly is going to shorten your life. Unless you find a way to regularly destress and relax, you may not live long enough to reach the average lifespan in this country. Harmful stress can be caused by having little control over the day’s work, and by some types of discrimination. This can lead to both physical and mental stress.

Two factors that had a part in reducing the harmful effects of stress are a fast-moving job, and also having higher mental capacity. Increasing an employee’s ability to have more control over a project – even when fast results are necessary – will help employees combat the effects of stress.

Other Factors That Reduce Longevity

In addition to the amount of stress in the workplace, other factors may also work with it to shorten your lifespan. These include things such as:


  • Unhealthy conditions at work
  • The number of hours at work
  • The shift you work
  • Whether or not you have health insurance
  • Your level of education
  • Job security
  • Your sex – women are less affected than men
  • The amount of paid time off.

The position you hold at work can also play a part in how long you live. Typically, people with white-collar jobs will live longer than blue-collar workers. The life expectancy of white-collar workers is now 82.5 years, and blue-collar workers can expect about 77 years.

Jobs that involve long hours of hard labor or sitting all day can also have a negative impact on your lifespan. For people who are physically inactive, it is believed that about 3.2 million of them will die early because of it. The body needs physical activity in order to function properly – about 150 minutes per week. Working at hard labor all day can shorten your life because it may work your body too hard. Despite hard labor, this person also needs to get some exercise after hours to stay healthy.

Race in Longevity

Although workplace stress can reduce your lifespan, it appears that stress affects some races more than others. Hispanic women seem to be less affected by stress than are white women in the same job.

Location Also Affects Longevity

Where you work is also apt to affect how long you are going to live. As a whole, your lifespan will vary by as much as 6.5 years – depending on which state you live in. People with the longest lifespan live in Hawaii – 81 years. Those with the shortest lifespan live in West Virginia (74.4 years). States in the South tend to have shorter lifespans.


People that have less education are at a higher risk for a shorter lifespan than those with a higher education. The effect among the less educated is made even worse if they have ever been unemployed for a time and if they do not have health insurance.

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