New Study Suggests Tip for Avoiding Heart Disease: Cut Down on Being American

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Here’s some good news for anyone who uses the word “literally” incorrectly:

Your desk job may be literally killing you, and we don’t just mean that figuratively (though that can certainly be true, especially if your cubicle is filled with inspirational quotes about teamwork).

A new study of cardiovascular disease in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine — which we’re guessing is like the US Weekly of occupational and environmental medicine — finds that for full-time employees, the risk of heart problems increased significantly for every extra hour of work per week.

Before you ask: Yes, if your version of work means sitting at your desk and surfing the internet, the findings still apply.

And if you work more than 46 hours a week, you might as well start picking your funeral music and preparing your Facebook page for eternity.

“Compared to those who averaged 45 hours a week for 10 years or more, the risk of heart disease was 16 percent higher among those who worked 55 hours a week and 35 percent higher among those who worked 60 hours a week,” reports.

This is when a nerd genie appears on our shoulder to remind us that “correlation does not prove causation.” Just because lots of people who work way too much die too soon, doesn’t mean that work killed them.

The “overly diligent” gene or the “seeking to escape your family who has no idea who you really are beneath the calcified angst of your youth” gene may just happen to appear commonly in people with bad hearts. Or sitting at your desk may lead to bad choices like eating pizza for lunch, dinner and the dinner you eat again when you get home.

Or perhaps people who have to work more are suffering from the wearying effects of decades of conservative economics — including the loss of guaranteed pensions, bargaining power and that home you bought in the exurbs with the last of the money that your overworked mom left you.

America is the only industrialized country that does not offer some mandatory paid sick, parental or vacation leave. We work longer than ever before and probably more than any other workers in the advanced world, if you include checking your work email during sex.

The Centers for Disease Control offer several tips for avoiding cardiovascular disease — and most of them come down to, “Be born in another first world country.”