Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Original research
Long work hours and decreased glomerular filtration rate in the Korean working population
  1. Dong-wook Lee1,
  2. Jongin Lee2,
  3. Hyoung-Ryoul Kim2,
  4. Kyo Yeon Jun3,
  5. Mo-Yeol Kang2
  1. 1 Department of Preventive Medicine, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea (the Republic of)
  2. 2 Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Seoul St. Mary's Hospital, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Korea (the Republic of)
  3. 3 Occupational Safety and Health Research Institute, Korea Occupational Safety and Health Agency, Incheon, Korea (the Republic of)
  1. Correspondence to Dr Mo-Yeol Kang, Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Seoul St. Mary's Hospital, 06591 Seoul, Korea (the Republic of); snaptoon{at}


Objectives We studied the association between long working hours and decreased kidney function, which was determined using estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), among the working population in South Korea.

Methods We analysed nationally representative cross-sectional data for 20 851 Korean workers ≥20 years of age. A negative binomial regression model was used to test differences in the prevalence of chronic kidney disease (eGFR <60 mL/min/1.73 m2) among workers divided into groups according to weekly working hours (<30, 30–40, 41–51 and ≥52 hours/week). Multivariate linear regression analysis was performed to investigate the association between weekly working hours and eGFR, with adjustments made for age, sex/gender, income, education, shift work, occupation, smoking, alcohol use, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, body mass index, systolic blood pressure, fasting blood glucose and total serum cholesterol.

Results A 1-hour increase in weekly working hours was associated with 0.057 mL/min/1.73 m2 (95% CI 0.005 to 0.109) decrease in eGFR among participants who worked ≥52 hours/week. Among participants without hypertension or diabetes, a 1-hour increase in weekly working hours was significantly associated with 0.248 and 0.209 mL/min/1.73 m2 decrease in eGFR among participants who worked 30–40 hours/week and 41–51 hours/week, respectively.

Conclusion Long working hours are associated with decreased kidney function. We expect that our findings could call for more research regarding this association and provide policy-oriented perspectives.

  • renal
  • workload

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Twitter @Na

  • Contributors All authors discussed the results and commented on the manuscript. Specifically, M-YK conceptualised and designed the study and supervised the study conduct. D-WL collected and analysed the data. M-YK and D-WL wrote and prepared the manuscript. JL, H-RK and KYJ revised it critically as regards important intellectual content.

  • Funding This study was funded by the Korea Occupational Safety and Health Agency (grant number: 2019-OSHRI-1440).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Ethics approval The KCDC Institutional Review Board approved the KNHANES (approval numbers: 2007-02-CON-04-P, 2008-04EXP-01-C, 2009-01CON-03-2C, 2010-02CON-21-C, 2011-02CON-06-C, 2012-01EXP-01-2C, 2013-07CON-03-4C, 2013-12EXP-03–5C, and 2015-01-02-6C).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement Data are available in a public, open access repository (Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey,