Being unemployed damages the health of both mind and body, a new government report claims.
The review from the Department for Work and Pensions found that those who are out of work suffer from higher rates of mental health problems than the general population, as well as higher chances of suffering from obesity, disability and suicide.
However, the report claims that returning to work can reverse this, improving health to the same degree as unemployment damages it.
The results show that there is a lack of understanding about the health benefits of work among doctors and nurses, the report states, and government initiatives are being planned in order to educate healthcare workers about the links between work and health.
Work and pensions minister Lord Hunt said: "Work is good for individuals and their families, and by lifting people out of poverty it also benefits communities by increasing prosperity while reducing health and wealth inequalities.
"This review reinforces our commitment to helping more people into work, improving the health of working age people and tackling the root causes of ill-health."
The evidence review, which looked at more than 400 pieces of scientific evidence, also found that a larger number of people get health benefits from work than are damaged by it.