Women who work long hours could be putting themselves at greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes, researchers have said.
A 12-year Canadian study investigated the working patterns of more than 7,000 workers aged between 35-74 years. The findings suggested that females who clocked up more than 45 hours a week were more likely to develop type 2 diabetes when compared with those who worked fewer hours.
It is not the first time a link has been found between long working hours and difficulties with health, but previous studies have mainly focused on men.
The research involved grouping all the participants into different groups, depending on the hours they worked. Influential factors such as age, sex, job type, marital status, parenthood, ethnicity, long-term health, lifestyle and weight were also taken into account.
Around 10% of participants had developed type 2 diabetes by the end of the 12-year study follow-up. Among females, the risk of developing type 2 diabetes was 63% higher for those who worked 45 or more hours a week compared to those who worked 35 and 40-hour weeks.
Diagnoses were common among men, older adults and those who were obese. But when looking at the working hours of participants, the incidence of the condition among men decreased in the group that worked longer hours.
Lead author and epidemiologist Mahee Gilbert-Ouimet, postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Work and Health in Toronto, said: “I was surprised to see the somewhat protective effect of longer working hours among men. 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 findings could help towards focusing on ways to improve lifestyle for those working longer hours. Our award-winning Low Carb Program has helped thousands with prediabetes prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes, and presents a range of healthy eating and exercise tips to improve blood sugar levels, enable weight loss and help users create quick, healthy meals to eat on-the-go.
“Identifying modifiable risk factors such as long work hours is of major importance to improve prevention and orient policy making, as it could prevent numerous cases of diabetes and diabetes related chronic diseases,” the researchers concluded.
The study results were published in the BMJ Diabetes Research &Care journal.