Really? The 5th Leading Cause of Death

A new book, “Dying for a Paycheck” was published in March. The author argues that today’s work culture exacts a harmful toll on the health of employees.

He sites an example given by a CEO:

I look out at the workplace and I see stress, layoffs, longer hours, work-family conflict, enormous amounts of economic insecurity. I see a workplace that has become shockingly inhumane.

The first point, which is consistent with data reported by the World Economic Forum and other sources, is that an enormous percentage of the health care cost burden in the developed world, and in particular in the U.S., comes from chronic disease — things like diabetes and cardiovascular and circulatory disease. You begin with that premise: A large fraction — some estimates are 75 percent — of the disease burden in the U.S. is from chronic diseases.

Second, there is a tremendous amount of epidemiological literature that suggests that diabetes, cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome — and many health-relevant individual behaviors such as overeating and under-exercising and drug and alcohol abuse — come from stress.

And third, there is a large amount of data that suggests the biggest source of stress is the workplace.”

The author claims findings that the workplace is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States. And, that HR professionals he speaks with about the impact of work culture on employee health say that the numbers he has are wrong: They are too low and the situation is far worse.

It would be great to discuss and debate the author’s findings and claims. Interested in scheduling a ‘book club’ meeting on this? By video conference or in person? Contact us and we’ll arrange it!

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