Long Work Hours May Increase Diabetes Risk

Pharmacy Times, December 2014 Heart Health, Volume 80, Issue 12

Working long hours may increase the risk of developing T2DM among patients with low socioeconomic status, the results of a recent study suggest.

The meta-analysis, published online September 25, 2014, reviewed data from 4 published studies that analyzed the effects of working hours and overtime work. Data from 19 unpublished cohort studies from the Individual- Participant-Data Meta-analysis in Working-Populations Consortium and international open-access data archives were also included. Overall, effect estimates from 222,120 patients from the United States, Europe, Japan, and Australia were pooled.

The results indicated that during 1.7 million personyears at risk, 4963 patients developed T2DM. In an analysis based on socioeconomic status, the association between long working hours and T2DM was significant among the low socioeconomic status group. Among patients belonging to the low socioeconomic group, those who worked 55 hours or more each week had close to a 30% increased risk of developing T2DM compared with those who worked 35 to 40 hours per week. The association remained significant after adjusting for age, sex, obesity, and physical activity, and after removing shift workers from the analysis.

“Working long hours might be causally related to health problems because it displaces other health-restorative behaviors, particularly sleep, time to rest, and time to engage in physical activity and social interactions,” the study authors suggested.