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Working women accrue heart benefits.

The hard-driving male executive is often viewed as a prime candidate for a heart attack. But does employment put women in jeopardy of heart disease as well?

A study by a team of German scientists hinted that employment offers women at least one cardiovascular advantage: Higher blood levels of high-density lipoprotein, the so-called good cholesterol that lowers the risk of heart disease (SN: 6/24/89, p.389). Now, Deborah L. Wingard and her colleagues at the University of California, San Diego, report further evidence that employment may provide heart benefits for women.

Wingard's team interviewed 242 woman age 40 to 59 about their employment, health habits and marital status. The team also obtained blood samples and measured cholesterol levels. In the February AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PUBLIC HEALTH, the team reports finding that employed women have significantly lower total blood cholesterol values that unemployed women.

The team notes that the working women in their study held mostly administrative or managerial jobs. What underlies the healthful cholesterol values enjoyed by working women? Wingard doesn't know, but she notes that women working at higher-paying, managerial positions may be able to afford better medical care and a better diet. Whether those same on-the-job benefits apply to pink-collar workers, with low-paying clerical positions, remains unknown, she says.
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Publication:Science News
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Feb 15, 1992
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