Long work hours may hike women's diabetes risk by 70%

Henrietta Strickland
July 5, 2018

The observational study examined the health data of 7,065 workers aged between 35 and 74 years for a period of 12 years.

The increased diabetes risk the researchers found was only slightly lower when they adjusted for other contributory factors, like smoking, lack of exercise, alcohol intake, and body mass index (BMI).

Participants' weekly working (paid and unpaid) hours were grouped into four-time bands: 15-34 hours; 35-40 hours; 41-44 hours; and 45 or more hours, and a range of potentially influential factors were considered.

Working long hours can have detrimental effects on health - from increased stress to higher rates of certain chronic diseases.

Working for more than the designated hours in office can help fetch you a good paycheck but a new study now shows that women who work for around 45 hours in a week have a high risk of getting type 2 diabetes but the same situation appears to protect the men from diabetes.

The study also showed that if an individual is overworked, it might cause a stress response that leads to hormonal imbalance and insulin resistance which might contribute to the development of diabetes.

The study was supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences. By 2030, it's estimated that 439 million people worldwide will live with the disease, up 50 percent from 2010, the researchers said.

All the women out there, here's a good reason for you to work less and relax more. There are studies which labelled this "over-work-under-pay diabetes risk" as controversial.

Various factors in the workplace such as the nature of the job - primarily active or sedentary - were also accounted for in the analysis. What's more, working hours were measured at one time point only, and it wasn't possible to deduce from the medical records which type of diabetes participants had, although type I diabetes accounts for only around one in 20 adult cases. Considering the rapid and substantial increase of diabetes prevalence, identifying modifiable risk factors is of major importance.

However, the team also found that for women, working more hours significantly increased the risk of developing diabetes. They found, for example, that the effect of longer working hours was stronger among women logging more than 45 hours a week at work who were living with children under age 12. Work weeks that averaged 60 hours or more over three decades tripled the risk of diabetes, cancer, heart trouble and arthritis for women, added the study.

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