By Mike Pomranz
Updated October 16, 2015
© Everett Collection Inc / Alamy

We all know how hard-working waiters are, but a new study makes that point in a pretty extreme way.

Southern Medical University in Guangzhou, China, conducted a meta-analysis of six studies on job-related health involving 138,782 participants. Researchers broke jobs down into four categories: high stress, low stress, passive and active. The study found that people working high stress jobs—like waiting tables—were at greater risk of heart problems and stroke than those who worked in the other groups.

Other high stress jobs included things like nursing aids, whereas low stress jobs included architects and scientists. Passive jobs were defined as jobs with low demand and low control such as manual laborers. Active jobs had both high demand and high control like being a doctor or teacher. According to their breakdown, what made jobs like being a waiter so “high stress” was the mix of high demand, but with low control: People want their food, but waiters don’t have control over whether they can throw it in a customer’s face or not.

“Having a lot of job stress has been linked to heart disease, but studies on job stress and stroke have shown inconsistent results,” said lead researcher Dingli Xu. It's possible that high stress jobs lead to more unhealthy behaviors, such as poor eating habits, smoking and a lack of exercise.”

Unhealthy behaviors like poor eating habits and smoking? Sounds like a waiter to me.