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Low-pay jobs link to increased diabetes risk

26 September 2014 10:29

People in long-hour, low-paid jobs could be at increased risk of developing diabetes, experts have said

People in long-hour, low-paid jobs could be at increased risk of developing diabetes, experts have said

Researchers have identified a link between long working hours in a poorly paid job and an increased risk of developing diabetes.

The findings come from scientists at University College London who looked at data from more than 222,000 men and women involved in diabetes studies in the US, Europe, Japan and Australia.

They found that people with " low socio-economic status jobs" who put in more than 55 hours a week increased their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 30% - this was in comparison to those who worked a 35 to 40-hour week.

Such results remained the same even when factors like smoking, physical activity, age, gender and obesity were taken into account, as well as the impact of shift work, which is often linked to an increased obesity and diabetes risk.

Such conclusions perhaps reinforce the importance for overtired workers to take a holiday. But anyone travelling with a condition such as diabetes is reminded to consider pre-existing medical travel insurance.

Lead scientist Professor Mika Kivimaki said pooling the data together from the four areas allowed the link between working hours and diabetes risk to be analysed "with greater precision" than ever before.

He points out that while long hours are unlikely to raise diabetes risk in everyone, medics should take into consideration how the risk is "significantly increased" in people doing low-paid jobs.

Meanwhile, M aureen Talbot, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, which co-funded the research, reinforced the message that the increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes was linked to those deemed to be in low socio-economic groups.

She said reducing the risk of diabetes is "essential" to patients who are consequently at a greater risk of heart attack or stroke.

The findings, of which the authors say further research is needed, are reported in the journal The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.