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Working Long Hours Linked to Increased Risk of Diabetes

Update Date: Sep 25, 2014 10:36 AM EDT
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A good balance between work and play is important. Several studies have found that people who do take the time to relax and de-stress have a greater risk of suffering from physical and mental conditions. In a new study, researchers examined the link between working too much and risk of type 2 diabetes. They found that people who worked longer hours were more likely to develop the chronic health condition.

For this study, the team analyzed data on more than 222,000 people within the United States, Europe, Japan and Australia gathered from previous studies. The participants were followed for an average of 7.6 years. During the team's initial assessment, they did not find a difference between the effects of working more than 55 hours per week and working 35 to 40 hours per week on diabetes risk.

The team conducted another analysis that factored in whether or not the participants had manual labor jobs or "low socioeconomic status jobs." In this examination, the researchers found that people who worked more than 55 hours per week at one of these two types of jobs had a 30 percent greater risk of developing diabetes in comparison to people who worked for 35 to 40 hours per week.

"Although working long hours is unlikely to increase diabetes risk in everyone, health professionals should be aware that it is associated with a significantly increased risk in people doing low socioeconomic status jobs," Mika Kivimaki, professor of epidemiology at University College London in England, said in a journal news release reported by Philly.

The increased risk was not affected by other variables, such as smoking status, physical activity levels, age, sex, weight and shift work.

"Even after controlling for obesity and physical activity, which are often the focus of diabetes risk prevention, suggesting that work factors affecting health behaviors and stress may need to be addressed as part of diabetes prevention," Dr. Orfeu Buxton, of Pennsylvania State University, and Dr. Cassandra Okechukwu, from Harvard School of Public Health, concluded.

The study, "Long working hours, socioeconomic status, and the risk of incident type 2 diabetes: a meta-analysis of published and unpublished data from 222 120 individuals," was published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.

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