Greater Risk of Diabetes in Women With Longer Work Week Interview with:

Mahée Gilbert-Ouimet, PhD Postdoctoral fellow/Chercheure postdoctorale Institute for Work & Health Hôpital du St-Sacrement,  Québec 

Dr. Gilbert-Ouimet

Mahée Gilbert-Ouimet, PhD
Postdoctoral fellow/Chercheure postdoctorale
Institute for Work & Health
Hôpital du St-Sacrement,  Québec What is the background for this study? 

Response: Diabetes is one of the primary causes of death worldwide, in addition to being a major risk factor for several other chronic diseases including cardiovascular diseases. Considering the rapid and substantial increase of diabetes prevalence, identifying modifiable risk factors is of major importance. In this regard, long work hours have recently been linked with diabetes, but more high-quality prospective studies are needed. Our study evaluated the relationship between long work hours and the incidence of diabetes among 7065 workers over a 12-year period in Ontario, Canada. What are the main findings?

Response: We observed a 63% increased risk of developing diabetes among women working 45 hours or more per week, compared to women working between 35 and 40 hours per week. The effect was only slightly attenuated when adjusted for traditional risk factors, e.g. smoking, leisure time physical activity, alcohol consumption and body mass index. Conversely, the incidence of diabetes among men tended to diminish as work hours increased, although this trend did not reach statistical significance.

Our study did not allow to explain the gender differences observed. However, it is plausible that women work longer hours, when all the household chores and family responsibilities are taken into account. For their part, men performing long work hours tend to hold more physically active jobs than women, get an important sense of identity through work and are more likely to hold high-skilled and well-paid occupations. What should readers take away from your report? 

Response: Promoting the regular workweek of 35–40 hours might be an effective strategy for preventing diabetes among women. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: Future studies documenting the pathways linking work hours, health behaviors, family responsibilities and diabetes and related gender differences are needed to gain a better understanding of the effects and further enrich prevention strategies. 

No disclosures:

Gilbert-Ouimet MMa HGlazier R, et al



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