Too Many Working Hours Give Women Increased Diabetes Risk

Leslie Hanson
July 5, 2018

Previous research has pointed to a link between long working hours and heightened diabetes risk, but most of these studies have focused exclusively on men.

The same can not be said for men, Canadian researchers found in a study published Tuesday in the journal BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care. Gilbert-Ouimet, the postdoctoral fellow, explained, "Even when men and women do similar work, women earn less". In 2015 alone, diabetes cost the global economy $1.31 trillion. The people in the study were tracked over a period of 12 years.

Prof. Orfeu Buxton at Penn State said that the other attribute contributing to this risk is that the women working for long hours get stressed and also get a less sleep time and moreover, neglect exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet.

Mahee Gilbert-Ouimet, lead researcher, believes the difference boils down to the fact that women primarily take care of the household duties outside of work. Hours worked per week were stratified across four categories - 15-34 hours, 25-40 hours, 41-44 hours, and ≥45 hours worked each week.

Carried out by researchers at the Centre de recherche FRQS du CHU de Québec, the Institute for Work & Health, the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, St Michael's Hospital, Université Laval, and the University of Toronto, along with Monash University, Australia, the new study followed 7,065 Canadian workers between the ages of 35 and 74 for a period of 12 years.

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


However, the calculations showed that in men, the workweek does not affect the risk of diabetes.

Instead, men who worked more hours tended to have a slightly lower risk of incident diabetes, although this wasn't statistically significant. Consuming whole grains regularly helps in preventing weight gain which is a big risk factor for diabetes. They also included factors such as shift work, number of weeks worked in a year, and whether a job was active or sedentary.

According to the findings, an increased risk was not found among those working between 30 and 40 hours per week.

However, the team also found that for women, working more hours significantly increased the risk of developing diabetes.

Women who work for 45 hours or more a week may be associated with almost 70 per cent increased risk of diabetes as compared to men or women who worked for 30 to 40 hours a week, a study has found. Longer-working men however did not face this risk.

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