Categories: world

Labor nights put women at greater risk for type 2 diabetes

Women working night shift and having unhealthy lifestyle habits face a particularly high risk of developing type 2 diabetes, research…

Women working night shift and having unhealthy lifestyle habits face a particularly high risk of developing type 2 diabetes, research findings.

Performed by US, Chinese and Austrian researchers, the study published in British Medical Journal looks at data collected from two long-term American health science studies on nurses. Nurses Health Study (NHS) and NHS II, which began in 1976 and 1989 respectively.

Researchers extracted 143,410 women without type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease or cancer who had completed medical, diet and lifestyle questionnaires at regular intervals.

Nurses were chosen because of their alternating rotors that include a combination of day, evening and night shift that can interfere with personal routines and biological rhythms.

For this study, working rotary night shift was defined as at least three night shifts per month in addition to regular day and night shift.

Similarly, unhealthy lifestyle was defined with four factors: obesity or obesity has ever smoked, has less than 30 minutes of exercise a day, and has a low diet in low fruit, green, nuts and whole grains and high processed meat , trans fat, sugar and salt.

0,915 of the 143,410 nurses reported to have a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.

Every five year’s work night it was discovered that nurses were almost one third (31 percent) more likely to have been diagnosed with the condition.

Likewise, those who believed to have an unhealthy lifestyle more than doubled (2.3 times) the risk of being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

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The study also looked into women who exhibited any of the four unhealthy lifestyle factors in conjunction with working night shifts and found that they faced an even higher risk.

For each individual unhealthy lifestyle factor, women who worked irregular hours increased their risk of type 2 diabetes by 2.83 times.

In total, the researchers calculated that rotating night shift work accounted for approximately 17 per cent of the combined higher risk of type 2 diabetes, unhealthy lifestyle for around 71 per cent and the remaining 11 per cent was additional risk related to the interaction of the two.

“Most cases of type 2 diabetes could be prevented by adherence to a healthy lifestyle, and the benefits could be larger in rotating night shift workers,” they conclude.

The authors believe that this is the first study to look at the combined impact of an unhealthy lifestyle and night shift work on the risk of type 2 diabetes but admit that because all the nurses were female and mostly white, their findings may not be applicable to men or other racial and ethnic groups.

Diabetes.co.uk – a community website that provides support to people across the world – says that it’s all too easy for people not to be aware of the risks that stem from shift work.

Support free-thinking journalism and subscribe to Independent Minds

“When circadian rhythms are disrupted through shift work, short-term effects can include insomnia, while long-term effects may include obesity, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure,” the website says.

“If you work shifts, there are some lifestyle changes worth making to improve your health. Three key areas to maximise your health during shift work are: Diet – meal planning and snacking, physical activity and sleep.”

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