According to a recent study published in BMJ Open Diabetes Research and Care, women who work more than 45 hours per week have a 63% higher risk of developing diabetes than women who work between 35 and 40 hours per week.
According to the same research, men who work more than 45 hours per week have a lower incidence of diabetes. For both genders, a person’s diabetes risk was “only slightly reduced” when habits like alcohol and smoking were considered.
The Canadian study involved more than 7,000 individuals between the ages of 35 and 74. In addition to the number of hours worked, study authors took into account:
- Marital status
- Nature of job
- Place of birth/place of residence
- Long-term health conditions
And while researchers could not reach a definitive ‘cause and effect’ from the study, they noted that encouraging women to work fewer hours could reduce the number of diabetes cases worldwide.
Diabetes is a chronic, life-altering condition that affects the way your body regulates glucose (blood sugar). You can think of glucose sort of like the fuel your body’s cells need to operate. But in order for your body to properly access glucose, it needs a pancreatic hormone called insulin.
People with type 1 diabetes do not produce any insulin, while people with type 2 diabetes don’t respond to insulin as they should.
Type 1 diabetes tends to affect younger individuals and is usually diagnosed by age 14. Type 2 is most often diagnosed between the ages of 45 and 64. Cases of type 2 diabetes have increased alongside growing obesity rates.
Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. According to the American Diabetes Association, more than 30 million Americans have diabetes. As many as 7 million remain undiagnosed.
Worldwide, that figure jumps to 425 million with about 50% undiagnosed.
“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 prevention and orient policy making, as it could prevent numerous cases of diabetes and diabetes-related chronic diseases,” wrote the study authors.
If future studies reach the same conclusion, doctors might start recommending that women work less than 40 hours per week.