People from the economically weaker section of the society, who are poorly paid as compared to the well off section of the society and work for 55 hours or more per week are 30% more likely to suffer from Type 2 Diabetes.
A methodical review and meta-analysis of published studies and unpublished data examining the effects of long working hours on Type 2 Diabetes was conducted under the stewardship of Mika Kivimaki, Professor of Epidemiology at University College London, UK, and colleagues.
A total of 4 published and 19 unpublished data involving 22, 2,120 men and women from the US, Europe, Japan, and Australia were followed for an average of 7.6 years. The study revealed that people who work for more than 55 hours in a week are more likely to develop Type 2 Diabetes in comparison to persons who work for 30 to 40 hours per week.
A more careful analysis revealed that persons from the economically weaker section of the society who are paid less and work for more than 55 hours in a week are 30% more likely to develop Type 2 Diabetes as compared to persons who worked for 35 to 40 hours per week. This figure was consistent even after taking into account lifestyle factors like smoking, age, sex, obesity and physical activity. The link remained strong even after excluding shift work which showed an increase in incidence of obesity and the risk of developing type II diabetes.
Researchers have indicated the need to identify the exact mechanism of the link between long working hours and diabetes in persons in the weaker socioeconomic section of the society.
Researchers said further study is needed to identify the underlying mechanisms for the association between long working hours and Type 2 Diabetes in people doing low status jobs. A number of possible explanations have been given and this includes disruptive schedules which leave little possibility of health restoring activities such as sleeping, unwinding and exercise.
Kivimaki said, “The pooling of all available studies on this topic allowed us to investigate the association between working hours and diabetes risk with greater precision than has been previously possible. 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.”