Rotating Night Shifts Increase Diabetes Risk

When it comes to choosing a work schedule, women may want to select one that only involves days or evenings.

A new study found that women who work a combination of days, evenings and night shifts may be at a higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

They study, conducted by researchers at Harvard School of Public Health, also found that “extended years of rotating night shift work was associated with weight gain, which may contribute to the increased risk of type 2 diabetes,” according to a news release.

Researchers analyzed data on more than 175,000 nurses between the ages of 25 to 67. They discovered that “the longer women worked rotating night shifts, the greater their risk of developing type 2 diabetes,” the news release states.

“This study raises the awareness of increased obesity and diabetes risk among night shift workers and underscores the importance of improving diet and lifestyle for primary prevention of type 2 diabetes in this high risk group,” said Frank Hu, one of the study’s lead authors and professor of nutrition and epidemiology. The study was published online in the journal PLoS Medicine.

Among the key findings:

  • Women who worked rotating nights for three to nine years faced a 20 percent increased risk.
  • Women who worked for nights for 10 to 19 years had a 40 percent increased risk.
  • Women who worked night shifts for over 20 years were 58 percent more at risk.

Additionally, those who worked rotating night shifts gained more weight and were more likely to become obese.

About 15 million Americans work full time during evening, night and rotating shifts, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Working odd hours can disrupt sleep habits, which can affect weight gain.

Sources: Harvard School of Public Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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