Secret no.7 Work less overtime

Women in Okinawa, Japan, live longer than just about anywhere else in Japan – on average to 87 (and, come on, that’s quite a long way to 100).

Their secret, suggests at least one report, is work-life balance. Women are more likely to be in the workforce than the Japanese average but work fewer overtime hours. How does that play out in longevity? No, I’m not sure either. The report suggests that partners have more time to raise a family and that seems a vaguely plausible reason for the study’s other main finding – that Okinawan women have more children. But longer life? Hmmm.

Plausibility rating: 3 out of 10. Fewer overtime hours by itself seems an unlikely major cause for a longer life. But there are other reasons not to work to hard as the famous quotation, variously attributed to US author Larry Kushner or politician Paul Tsongas, reminds us: ‘No one ever said on their deathbed ‘I wish I’d spent more time at the office’.


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