Researchers at Southern Medical University in Guangzhou, China, analysed six studies on job strain and stroke risk, involving a total of 138,782 participants.
They found that service jobs in which staff were under high demand with little situational control were significantly more damaging to workers' health than high stress jobs with high levels of control - such as medicine or teaching.
Staff in demanding jobs such as waiting tables had a 22 per cent higher risk of stroke than those working in low stress sectors.
When participants were split by gender, the figure for women rose to 33 per cent.
Commenting on the study, Dingli Xu, MD, of Southern Medical University, explained that more research was required to determine whether the increased stroke risk was caused by external factors linked to a stressful lifestyle.
"Having a lot of job stress has been linked to heart disease, but studies on job stress and stroke have shown inconsistent results," he said in a statement.
"It's possible that high stress jobs lead to more unhealthy behaviors, such as poor eating habits, smoking and a lack of exercise."
The hospitality industry has taken greater steps to recognise the contribution of waiting staff in the past few years, with businesses around the country participating in the third National Waiter's Day in May.