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Employers must help staff let off steam

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Workers will turn to alcohol, smoking and comfort eating to deal with the rising stress of their jobs, warns The Stroke Association and Siemens.

In a joint report, they found almost a quarter of staff (23%) said they would smoke more to deal with stress, while more than a third (34%) said they would drink more. The worst sector for drinking was marketing, where 59% drink said they were drinking more than usual to combat the stress of their job.

The recruitment sector was deemed the most stressful, with 82% of recruitment consultants reporting regular stress. The legal sector followed closely behind with 78% of employees feeling the pressure.

Joe Korner, director of external affairs for The Stroke Association, believes that it is up to employers to do more to encourage staff to de-stress, especially through regular exercise. Otherwise, he warns, there could be dire implications for employees' health.

Eating more to combat work-related stress was the answer for 43%. Just 13% take exercise to let off steam.

Korner said: "Stress is undesirable and responding to it in the wrong ways, for instance by drinking excessive alcohol, over-eating or smoking, can all lead to high blood pressure which is the single biggest risk factor for strokes. This is a major issue for people of all ages, especially those working in stressful occupations."

For more information about Stroke Week in October visit www.siemens.co.uk/strokeforstroke