How do stress and a lot of work affect the risk of diabetes?
Unfortunately, diabetes affects more and more people worldwide. Certain factors in our lifestyle, such as our working hours, influence the likelihood of developing diabetes. Researchers have now found that women who work particularly long hours have an increased risk of developing diabetes.
Scientists at the Institute for Work & Health, Toronto, found in their current study that women who work at least 45 hours a week are at increased risk of type 2 diabetes. The doctors published the results of their study in the English-language journal "BMJ Diabetes Research & Care".
Long working hours in men reduce the risk of diabetes
For their study, the experts examined over 7,065 employees between the ages of 35 and 74. This research work now analyzed the effects of working hours on the risk of diabetes for both genders for the first time. The results have been somewhat surprising: if men work longer than 45 hours a week, their risk of diabetes is reduced. But if women work 45 hours or more, the risk of developing diabetes increases by 63 percent. This is probably related to the fact that female employees still manage most of the household outside of working hours, explains study author Dr. Mahee Gilbert-Ouimet.
Men don't help much in the household
The results could be the same for men if they were in a similar position and also had to do a lot of household chores, the experts explain. Most men are better paid and tend to hold higher positions, but don't help much in the household, adds Dr. Gilbert-Ouimet added. Such results were to be expected because women still take twice as much responsibility for the family compared to men, the researcher explains. Better pay and better positions at work could help lower the risk of diabetes for women. Especially if the husbands would help more in the household.
439 million people with diabetes in 2030?
Worldwide, adult diabetes is expected to increase by approximately 50 percent to 439 million by 2030. So there is an urgent need to develop effective measures to protect against diabetes. The risk of diabetes could also be due to stress reducing resistance to insulin.
Participants were assigned to different groups
Subjects were divided into four groups based on weekly working hours including unpaid hours (e.g. housework). The members in the groups were assigned a combined working time of 15 to 34 hours, 35 to 40 hours, 41 to 44 hours and 45 or more hours. The researchers also considered factors such as age, gender, race, marital status, existing children, place of residence, activity, exercise, type of work, health problems and lifestyle factors.
Men were more likely to develop diabetes
Over the course of the twelve years, ten percent of the subjects developed type 2 diabetes. Men, overweight people and the elderly made up most of the diagnoses. However, the diagnoses in men were rarely due to working life. When men worked longer, they were less likely to have diabetes.
More research is needed
When women worked 45 or more hours a week, the chance of developing diabetes was 63 percent higher compared to women who only worked 35 to 40 hours a week. This percentage decreased, however, when medical doctors sorted out women who were overweight, smokers and consumers of high amounts of alcohol. Nevertheless, the risk remained significantly increased (45 percent). Further investigations are now to clarify whether longer working hours in connection with housework cause women to drink more, smoke and eat too much, which may exacerbate their risk, explains Dr. Gilbert-Ouimet. (as)