Ladies, need a reason to go to the gym at lunch? Middle-aged women who work more than 35 hours a week are more likely to pack on the pounds and lead a less healthy lifestyle, according to a new study announced on Tuesday.
Researchers from Monash University in Australia examined data on more than 9,000 women and found those putting in a shift of more than 35 hours a week gained weight. Those who worked extra long hours, more than 49 hours a week, were the biggest weight gainers -- an average of about 1.9 percent of their weight over a two-year period, or about 1.3 kilograms (2.86 pounds) for a 69-kilogram (152-pound) woman, according to The Telegraph in the UK.
The Telegraph also cites that those who worked part-time had an average weight gain of 1.5 percent - or about 1 kilogram, or 2.2 pounds. Subjects, all ranging in age from 45 to 50, who worked long hours (from 41 to 48 hours a week) or very long hours (defined as more than 49) were also far more likely to smoke, drink too much, sleep too little, and not exercise.
"Extended work hours may reduce the time spent preparing home-cooked meals, exercising, and sleeping, which are risk factors for obesity," said lead researcher Nicole Au in a press release.
The study is published in the International Journal of Obesity.
Other recent research from Harvard's Brigham and Women Hospital in the US finds that in order for middle-aged women to keep extra flab off as they age, they'll need to exercise at a moderate pace for an hour every day - this applies to women who are even at a healthy weight. Brisk walking, leisurely bicycling, and golfing are all examples of moderate exercise.