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Night shift workers at increased risk of type-2 diabetes, according to study

A new study published in the journal Diabetes Care has found that people who periodically work the night shift have an increased risk of developing type-2 diabetes.

  • Researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston examined the effects of past and present night shift work on the development of type-2 diabetes.
  • In the study, the researchers looked at the data of more than 270,000 people who were between 38 and 71 years old in the U.K. Biobank.
  • The study participants gave detailed information on their lifestyle, health status, and current work schedule.
  • Seventy-seven thousand of the participants gave in-depth lifetime employment information, and a subgroup of 44,000 provided genetic information.
  • Moreover, they gave information about their “chronotype,” or whether they were a morning person or a night person.
  • Of all the participants, approximately 7,000 of them had type-2 diabetes.
  • Results revealed that the more nights employees worked, the greater their chances were of having type-2 diabetes, regardless of whether they are genetically at risk to it or not.
  • Moreover, those who worked irregular or rotating shifts that included night shifts were at a 44 percent increased risk of type-2 diabetes, compared to those who never worked at night.
  • Individuals who worked eight or more night shifts every month were 36 percent more prone to develop diabetes compared to those who work during the day.
  • The researchers explained that night shifts interrupt social and biological rhythms and sleep, which leads to a greater risk of metabolic disorders, such as type-2 diabetes.

In conclusion, the findings of the study indicate that working the night shift from time to time increases the risk of type-2 diabetes, while working the night shift only did not increase the risk of the condition.

Journal Reference:

Céline Vetter, Hassan S. Dashti, Jacqueline M. Lane, Simon G. Anderson, Eva S. Schernhammer, Martin K. Rutter, Richa Saxena and Frank A.J.L. Scheer. NIGHT SHIFT WORK, GENETIC RISK, AND TYPE 2 DIABETES IN THE UK BIOBANK. Diabetes Care, 2018; 41 (3). DOI:

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