Posted on Sep 30, 2014

Diabetes is one of the most serious diseases in the United States today, because so many people (both young and old) are affected by it. Experts are trying to find ways to prevent the number of diabetics in the country from rising as it has been for many years. So, which factors are likely causing diabetes?

CBS news reports on diabetes.

A new study shows that working long hours, which most Americans do, can lead to diabetes. Which types of jobs does this analysis particularly pertain to?

Researchers from the University of London conducted the study. The study refers primarlity to people doing manual labor jobs. “Further analyses showed that people who worked more than 55 hours a week at manual labor or other types of ‘low socioeconomic status jobs’ were 30 percent more likely to develop diabetes than those who worked 35 to 40 hours a week,” according to CBS.

How was the study conducted?

Experts looked at data from prior studies involving more than 222,000 men and women in the United States and three other countries. The men were followed for around seven and a half years.

The study accounted for many limitations. “This increased risk remained even after the researchers accounted for diabetes risk factors such as smoking, physical activity levels, age, sex and obesity, and after the researchers excluded shift work, which increases the risk of obesity and diabetes,” according to CBS.

The study was published on September 24th in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.

What were the results?

While the study recognized an association between long work weeks and diabetes, it did not find a cause-and-effect relationship. The researchers said they plan to conduct more research to figure out the link between increased diabetes and working long hours.

What are some possible causes?

Experts speculate that some reasons for the correlation might be the fact that people who work extremely long and arduous hours have little time for healthy behaviors such as exercise, relaxation and adequate sleep.

Expert Mika Kivimaki, professor of epidemiology at University College London in England, said in a journal news release, “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.”

The results are expected to help diabetes prevention programs. The programs can amend themselves after taking in tips from the research about how job activity and hours worked affects diabetes development in people.

Many experts commented on the study’s findings. Dr. Buxton, of Pennsylvania State University, and Dr. Okechukwu, from Harvard School of Public Health, wrote, “The study findings remained strong 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.”

Fox news also reported on the study. The researchers went over nineteen data reports to scrutinize the effects of working long hours and engendering type 2 diabetes. All of the data analyzed over two hundred thousand men so that the results were comprehensive.

They find that one possible reason for the heightened risk may be irregular work schedules. These often make it difficult for employees to create a healthy eating pattern into their daily routine.

Experts are hoping that the data is very helpful in diabetes prevention. This data is extremely different from other studies, which focused on the idea that diabetes is caused by jobs where people stayed seated for extremely long periods of time. This research is the first of its kind as it focuses on manual labor jobs causing diabetes.

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Gerry Oginski
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