A recent article in The Star reported on a couple of studies that found physical labour was linked to heart disease. Once again, I’d like to point out the difference between correlation and causation. Just because people who work in physically demanding environments are more likely to have heart attacks than people who work in sedentary environments does not mean that the physical demands of the job was the cause of the heart attacks. I can think of plenty of other factors which may have contributed to the development of heart disease in physical labourers. For one, physically demanding jobs are often associated with lower social determinants of health such as: education, income, and social status. These factors are also tied to higher rates of smoking, poor diet quality, poorer living conditions, and decreased medical care.
Of course heavy lifting at work will increase your chance of a heart attack or stroke when your lifestyle is unhealthy. It’s not the job that’s to blame though. It’s our societal structure which traps people in these unhealthy lifestyles.