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Working too hard, not working at all and soaring prices are coming together to create a perfect storm of premature deaths... A team from University College London gathered data on over 10,000 British civil servants 7,095 of them had no symptoms of heart disease, angina and no medical histories of heart disease at the start of the study, they were all full-time working men and women. They gathered data on heart disease risk factors, such as cholesterol levels, blood pressure, age, smoking status and diabetes. Participants reported on their daily schedules, including how many hours they worked on an average weekday - including work brought home. Eleven-year follow up data was gathered and analyzed and they found that by adding how many hours an individual generally worked each week to their list of risk factors, it was easier for doctors to predict heart disease risk - Professor Kivimäki said:

"We have shown that working long days is associated with a remarkable increase in risk of heart disease. This new information should help improve decisions regarding medication for heart disease. It could also be a wake-up call for people who overwork themselves, especially if they already have other risk factors."

The study concluded long working hours are associated with increased risk for coronary heart disease. Those who work 11 hours or more per day increase their risk by as much as 2.5 times compared to people who work 8 hours a day. All participants were between 39 and 62 years of age and working full time.

Unemployment Plays Role in Early Deaths, RISK HIGHEST FOR YOUNG MEN

Another new study indicates that being unemployed increases a person's risk of premature death by 63 percent and the quality of a nation's health-care system did not affect this level of risk, the study authors noted.

They also found that unemployment boosts men's risk of premature death much more than it does women's risk (78 percent vs. 37 percent) and that the risk of death is particularly high for people younger than 50.."When a man loses his job, it still often means that the family will become poorer and suffer in various ways. What's new is the study concluded," We found that pre-existing health conditions had no effect, suggesting that the unemployment-mortality relationship is quite likely a causal one. This probably has to do with unemployment causing stress and negatively affecting one's socioeconomic status, which in turn leads to poorer health and higher mortality rates," a sociology professor at McGill University explained. The findings, published in the March issue of the journal Social Science & Medicine, suggest the need for public health initiatives that target unemployed people.

Soaring Food Costs Pushing Millions Into Poverty

According to the Associated Press... Soaring food and energy prices, still-fragile financial systems and continued tensions between the United States and China over trade and currency issues will all be on the agenda at meetings over the next three days of global finance officials. World Bank President Robert Zoellick says food prices are 36 percent higher than they were a year ago and already have pushed 44 million people into poverty. Zoellick cited a new World Bank study that showed that another 10 percent increase in global food prices could drive an additional 10 million people into extreme poverty. That would be in addition to the 44 million people who have been driven into poverty since last June because of soaring food prices. You talk about a "Perfect Storm"...adding soaring prices into this equation seems unimaginable under these fragile conditions. Things are worse in some parts of the world than others. Our hearts continue to go out to the people of Japan.  Tom LeDuc