News & Commentary

Shift Work Raises Risk of Diabetes


Frequent shift work, particularly at night, increases type 2 diabetes risk factors, according to a study in Diabetes Care. Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston looked at the impact on 270,000 people who currently work the night shift, using data from the UK Biobank. Of that population, 6,770 had type 2 diabetes.

They found that rotating shift work that includes night shifts, as well as the number of night shifts worked per month, appears have a greater association with type 2 diabetes.

In what the researchers describe as a “novel finding,” shift work, especially at night, increased the risk of type 2 diabetes regardless of genetic predisposition. They also identified a dose–response relationship suggestive of a causal relationship. People who on average worked more than eight night shifts per month had a 36% higher chance of getting type 2 diabetes than those who never worked night shifts.

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