From the Journals

Diabetes risk may rise with work hours



Hard work may be its own reward, but there may be an added, but unwelcome, bonus lurking for women who work more than 40 hours a week: diabetes.

Men have a higher risk overall for developing diabetes, 12.2%, compared with 7.5% for women, but the risk for women increases as they work more hours per week, which is not the case for men, according to the results of a 12-year Canadian study that included over 7,000 workers.

Cumulative diabetes incidence by work-hour category

Among the 3,502 women in the study, those who worked 45 or more hours per week had a cumulative diabetes incidence of 8.5% over the median 11.7 years of follow-up. Diabetes incidence was 7.2% for women who worked 41-44 hours a week, 6.8% for those who worked 35-40 hours, and 7.9% among women who worked 15-34 hours weekly, Mahée Gilbert-Ouimet, PhD, of the Institute for Work & Health, Toronto, and her associates reported in BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care.

For the 3,563 men included in the study, diabetes incidence was 9.5% for those who worked at least 45 hours a week versus 12% for those who worked 41-44 hours, 14.6% for men working 35-40 hours weekly, and 17.6% among those who put in 15-34 hours, the investigators wrote.

Hazard ratios for working 45 or more hours, compared with 35-40 hours, were 1.63 for women and 0.81 for men after adjustment for age, level of education, working conditions, and other factors, although the effect was significant only for women, they noted.

“Considering the rapid and substantial increase of diabetes prevalence in Canada and worldwide, 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,” Dr. Gilbert-Ouimet and her associates wrote.

The study was supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and by the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, which is funded by an annual grant from the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. None of the investigators declared any conflicts of interest.

SOURCE: Gilbert-Ouimet M et al. BMJ Open Diab Res Care. 2018. doi: 10.1136/bmjdrc-2017-000496.

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