Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor
London, United Kingdom (4E) – Women and overtime work apparently don’t mix, said a new study, and women might therefore be vulnerable to an increased the risk of diabetes.
Woman that work 45 or more hours a week have a higher risk of Type 2 diabetes than women who log 35 to 40 hours weekly, according to a study published in the British Medical Journal Diabetes Research and Care recently. The study was later published online in BMJ Open Diabetes Research and Care.
Curiously, the study isn’t sure why extra work might boost the risk of acquiring diabetes, or why this link was only found in women. Researchers, however, suspect this anomaly might have something to do with the hours of unpaid work at home that women tend to engage in more than men. Such as being a home maker or housewife.
“It’s important to understand that the work environment does play an increased role in the risk of type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases. Working long hours is not a healthy thing to do,” said Peter Smith, the study’s lead author, and a senior scientist at the Institute for Work and Health in Toronto.
“If you look at time spent outside of work, women do more care of household members and more routine housework. The only thing women don’t do more of is watching TV and exercising,” Smith added.
Cases of Type 2 diabetes worldwide continue to increase. By 2030, it’s estimated that 439 million people worldwide will live with the disease, up 50 percent from 2010, said the study. Diabetes is also a major risk factor for other chronic diseases such as heart disease and stroke. Obesity and a sedentary lifestyle are risk factors for Type 2 diabetes, but genetics also play a role.
The current study included more than 7,000 working adults from Ontario, Canada. The participants, who were followed for about 12 years, were between 35 and 74 years old. One in 10 people developed diabetes during the study period.
The study found no statistically significant link between men’s work hours and developing Type 2 diabetes. In women, however, working 45 hours or more was associated with “at least a 50 percent increased risk of developing diabetes,” said the study. The study wasn’t designed to prove a cause and effect.
The study suggested that long work hours may cause a stress response that might lead to hormone imbalances and insulin resistance that may contribute to the development of diabetes in women.
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