Shift Workers Sacrificing Health For Jobs?


A recent study published in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine has revealed that men who work rotating shifts, in comparison to those who work normal office hours, are more likely to develop diabetes. This involves job roles such as police officers, firemen and doctors.

Previous research has linked shift work to weight gain and increased appetite – both of which are risk factors for diabetes, and also other health problems, but this is the first investigation to call upon diabetes. The research looked at 12 previous studies, involving more than 225,000 people, of which 15,000 had diabetes.

They found that the overall risk of diabetes was 9 percent in shift workers, but that men were 35 percent more likely to develop the condition. They then found, that those working rotating shift patterns (different parts of the 24 hour cycle on a regular basis), were 42 percent more likely to suffer from diabetes.

Researchers have stated that this study provides practical and valuable clues for prevention of DM. In the UK alone, around 2.9 million suffer from diabetes, with 90 percent of those suffering from type 2 diabetes, and an estimated 850,000 people go undiagnosed.

Although the exact reason for shift work increasing diabetes is unclear and the evidence provided is not conclusive, these findings do suggest that shift workers need to be aware of the personal risks of developing type 2 diabetes, and employers also need to do everything within their power to prevent health issues and maintain employee well-being, because if they do not, they could be facing a lawsuit!

Michael Lewin


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