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Self-employed women have better heart health

THE ESSENTIAL

  • “Heart disease is the leading cause of death among women. Many people are unaware of it,” according to scientists.
  • Women who work as freelancers or are entrepreneurs are probably richer or have more advantages than those who are salaried.
  • Self-employed women were more likely to be uninsured and not to benefit from complementary health insurance.

“To date, no research has comprehensively explored the association between independent activity and cardiovascular disease risk factors in women,” said researchers from the University of California (USA). That is why they decided to carry out a study, the results of which were published in the journal BMC Women’s Health.

For the purposes of the work, the scientists used a survey on health and retirement, which was carried out in 2016. The latter covered 4,624 women who had a job. Among them, 16% were self-employed, while the others said they were employees.

More likely to exercise

According to the results, self-employed women were more physically active. In detail, 80% of them said they exercised at least twice a week, compared to 72% of participants who were employed. According to the authors, being your own boss increased the odds of playing sports by 68%. The BMI of self-employed women was on average 1.79 kg/m2 lower than that of employed women, the study said.

“This type of work structure can allow women to have more freedom in the organization of their working days and to do more sport, for example”, said Kimberly Narain, lead author of the work, in a statement.

A reduction in cardiovascular risk factors

In active women, independent activity was associated with a 34% reduction in the risk of being obese, a 43% reduction in the risk of suffering from hypertension and a 30% reduction in the risk of developing diabetes. As a reminder, these disorders are important risk factors for heart disease. Clear, “the structure of employment can have a significant impact on the cardiovascular health of women”, the team said.

According to the researchers, these results do not prove that independent activity is synonymous with better health. But they raise the question of whether certain aspects of this work structure can benefit women’s hearts.

“More autonomy and flexibility”

Kimberly Narain indicated that certain employers should apply certain rules put in place within the framework of a freelance activity. “They might think about opportunities for more autonomy and flexibility in working hours. Some employers may think that strict working hours serve financial interests. But if employees are more stressed, less satisfied or in poorer health, this does not may not be the case”, concluded the researcher.






















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