Shift work tied to higher diabetes risk
In a new study published in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine, researchers from China found more evidence of a connection between shift work and type 2 diabetes.
To conduct their study, the team combined and re-analyzed the data from 12 previous studies that looked at the association between shift work and chances of developing diabetes. The studies involved a total of 226,652 participants and 14,595 people with diabetes. Shift work was defined as working nights, rotating shifts or irregular shifts – anything other than working typical daytime hours.
Based on their analysis, the risk of diabetes was increased by 9 percent overall for shift workers, compared to people who had never been exposed to shift work. Male shift workers had a 28 percent greater risk of developing diabetes than their female counterparts, and people who worked rotating shifts had a 42 percent greater risk of diabetes compared to non-shift workers.
While the new study doesn’t show that shift work causes diabetes, the researchers speculate that shift work may interfere with eating and sleeping patterns and disrupt circadian rhythms. They also noted that previous studies show that shift work is associated with weight gain, and an increase in appetite and body fat, which are major risk factors for diabetes.