For women who still do most of the back-breaking chores, it’s a constant cause of marriage dust-ups.

Now there’s finally a way to get your other half off the sofa more often – tell them the cooking and cleaning is bad for your health.

Research shows that doing the bulk of the housework can cut an older women’s chances of staying healthy by 25 percent.

Husbands, on the other hand, benefit more from doing jobs around the house. The blame is put on women trapped in the kitchen, preparing meals and cleaning for long hours. Men, however, tend to stay healthier because they tend to do more physical jobs like gardening and DIY. Researchers looked at more than 36,000 participants aged over 65 from seven countries, including the UK.

Women who got less than seven hours of sleep a night – or too much sleep – were 25 percent less likely to be in good health when doing more than three hours of housework a day. But chores had no effect on men who met the same criteria. Even taking away sleep, men appear healthier when doing chores. The results suggest women should put their feet up more – or at least spend more time in the garden and less in the kitchen. Dr Tilman Brand, of the Leibniz Institute for Prevention Research and Epidemiology in Germany, said: ‘The difference in the sexes’ health is probably to do with the type of housework women tend to do, which is a lot more repetitive and routine work, like cleaning and cooking.

‘While this probably has some limited health benefits, it is not very physically active, is not really exercise and is not very stimulating mentally, which relates to physical health.’

The study found the bulk of the chores still fall to women, who in Britain spend almost four hours a day doing housework. Men do less than two and a half hours.