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April 01, 2003
Utilization of Vacation Linked with Health
Researchers are continuing to add to the body of evidence that suggests workers who take vacations could have fewer health problems and live longer than those who don't use vacations, the Wall Street Journal reports.

For example, a nine-year study of 12,000 middle-age men at risk of heart disease found that workers who did not take vacations had a higher risk of death from any cause, and heart disease in particular, than those who took regular vacations, the newspaper reports.

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Another study, published in the journal Occupational Medicine in 2000, found that employees who worked for a manufacturer reported fewer physical problems for weeks after a two-week vacation.

Some researchers have found what the newspaper calls an "afterglow" effect that can last three to six weeks from when workers take vacations. Vacationers also develop healthier living habits, says Brooks Gump of the State University of New York. Dov Eden of Tel Aviv University says that an additional benefit of vacations is that they can offer an opportunity for drained workers to shore up relationships with friends and family, the Journal reports.

American workers are taking fewer vacations, though, says Carol Sladek of Hewitt Associates. Sladek cites a couple of possible reasons for this.

"Companies are staffed so lean there's no way people can take the time," she says. "People are afraid, if you leave the office and take two weeks, who knows what will happen by the time you get back?"


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