Long Work Hours Are Associated with Hypothyroidism: A Cross-Sectional Study with Population-Representative Data

Young Ki Lee, Dong Eun Lee, Yul Hwangbo, You Jin Lee, Hyeon Chang Kim, Eun Kyung Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Studies have highlighted the adverse effects of long work hours on workers' health; however, the association of long work hours with thyroid function has not been studied. This study aimed at assessing long work hours as a risk factor for thyroid dysfunction. Methods: This cross-sectional study was based on data obtained from the Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted from 2013 to 2015. A total of 2160 adults who worked 36-83 hours per week were included. Thyroid function was defined based on the population thyroid-stimulating hormone reference ranges, after excluding individuals with positive results for thyroid peroxidase antibody. The association between work hours and thyroid function was confirmed via multinomial logistic regression. Results: Hypothyroidism was more prevalent among those with longer work hours (3.5% vs. 1.4% for 53-83 and 36-42 work hours per week, respectively). Individuals who worked longer hours had an increased odds for hypothyroidism (odds ratio 1.46, confidence interval 1.12-1.90, per 10-hour increase in work hours per week), after adjustment for age, sex, body mass index, urine iodine concentration, smoking status, work schedule, and socioeconomic status. The association between work hours and hypothyroidism was consistent in various subgroups stratified by sex or socioeconomic status. Conclusions: To our knowledge, this study is the first to show that long work hours are associated with hypothyroidism. Further large longitudinal studies are needed to clarify causality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1432-1439
Number of pages8
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Oct

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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