Women that work for more than 45 hours a week or more risk developing type 2 diabetes, say Canadian researchers. The study suggests that people should balance their work and life to avoid such risks.
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.”
Previous studies on this connection between risk of diabetes and longer working hours were only conducted with data only from male participants.
The new study led by Epidemiologist Mahee Gilbert-Ouimet (Institute for Work and Health in Toronto) focused on all workers. She gathered data from 7,065 adults in Canada – female, male, and of different ages, over a period of 12 years (2003 – 2015).
Participants were divided into four groups, according to their hours worked in a week. The first group was with 15 – 34 hours, the second one 35 – 40 hours, the third 41 – 44 hours, and the last one 45 or more hours.
The study concluded that 10% of the participants developed diabetes. Common diagnoses were found in men, older adults and the ones that were obese. Considering working hours, men who worked longer saw a decrease in the risk of diabetes, explains Gilbert-Ouimet:
“I was surprised to see the somewhat protective effect of longer working hours among men.”
However, there were different results while looking at the female workers’ data in her study.
Compared to women that worked between 35 and 40 hours per week, the ones that worked 45 hours or more per week had a 63% higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Long Working Hours Plus More Family Chores
The authors suggested that more working hours can result in stress and changes in cortisol production. It can then lead to sleep deprivation, insulin resistance, poor mental health and more.
The study was only observing and not established that long hours lead to diabetes. It hasn’t explained why there is a difference between genders in the risks, but Gilbert-Ouimet explains that it could add up to dividing responsibility between the family:
“Among women, we know women tend to assume a lot of family chores and responsibilities outside the workplace, so one can assume that working long hours on top of that can have an adverse effect on health.”
The authors hope to highlight that long working hours are risk factors. They concluded that their findings could “improve prevention and orient policy making, as it could prevent numerous cases of diabetes and diabetes-related chronic diseases.”
Rex Austinwas born and raised in Thunder Bay Ontario on the shores of Lake Superior. Apart from running his own podcast (Ice Fishing And Other “Cool” Things), he spends his time canoeing and backpacking in Northern Ontario.. As a journalist Rex has published stories for Global News (Thunder Bay) we well as Buzz Feed and Joystiq. As a contributor to Great Lakes Ledger, Rex most covers science and health stories. Contact Rexhere