Published: Thu, July 05, 2018
Medicine | By Douglas Stevenson

Greater Risk of Diabetes in Women With Longer Work Week

Greater Risk of Diabetes in Women With Longer Work Week

For their part, men performing long work hours tend to hold more physically active jobs than women, get an important sense of identity through work and are more likely to hold high-skilled and well-paid occupations.

Weekly hours logged at work among the participants were classified into four groups, including 15-34 hours, 35-40 hours, 41-44 hours, and 45 or more hours.

The study was published on 2 July, in BMJ Diabetes Research & Care, under the title "Adverse effect of long work hours on incident diabetes in 7065 Ontario workers followed for 12 years". (That was after the scientists adjusted for other potential factors that could affect diabetes risk, including physical activity, BMI and smoking.) They did not see the same effect in men; in fact, men working longer hours seemed to have a lower risk of developing diabetes compared to men working fewer hours.

7,065 workers were examined for the study.

It is not yet certain why it has only been observed in women but further studies have shown that it might have to do with the fact that women do not stop working even after they leave the office as they have to take on other responsibilities at home. During the study, about one out of ten people developed diabetes, mainly men, older and obese.

"If you think about all the unpaid work they do on their off-hours, like household chores for example, they simply do more than men, and that can be stressful, and stress negatively impacts your health", said study co-author Mahee Gilbert-Ouimet, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto.

Furthermore, longer working hours may trigger a chronic stress response that increases the risk of hormonal abnormalities and insulin resistance. Flaxseeds help in reducing the chances of heart complications and also the risk of strokes linked with diabetes. Although men who consistently worked for longer hours did not suffer from the risk of diabetes.

The study authors aren't sure why extra work may boost diabetes risk, or why this link was only found in women. The researchers also accounted for a range of factors that may influence the health outcomes of the individuals such as age, marital status, ethnicity, long-term health conditions, weight, and lifestyle.

As per the American Diabetes Association, over 30 million people in America suffer with diabetes, with about 1.5 million of diabetes diagnosis being reported in a year.

Every tenth participant of the project during the time of observation fell ill with type 2 diabetes.

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