Women on Night Shift Have Increased Risk for Type 2 Diabetes
Women who worked irregularly scheduled night shifts had up to a 60% higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes than women who worked only day and evening hours, according to a study published in PLOS Medicine.
From the article:
Women who worked irregularly scheduled night shifts had up to a 60% higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes than women who worked only day and evening hours, according to a study published online December 6 in PLOS Medicine.
The study, led by An Pan, PhD, a research fellow in the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, found that women who had worked rotating night shifts at least 3 times per month for 1 to 2 years had a 5% increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The risk rose the longer a woman had done rotating night-shift work, from 20% after 3 to 9 years to almost 60% for 20 or more years.
Background Rotating night shift work disrupts circadian rhythms and has been associated with obesity, metabolic syndrome, and glucose dysregulation. However, its association with type 2 diabetes remains unclear. Therefore, we aimed to evaluate this association in two cohorts of US women.
Methods and Findings We followed 69,269 women aged 42–67 in Nurses' Health Study I (NHS I, 1988–2008), and 107,915 women aged 25–42 in NHS II (1989–2007) without diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer at baseline. Participants were asked how long they had worked rotating night shifts (defined as at least three nights/month in addition to days and evenings in that month) at baseline. This information was updated every 2–4 years in NHS II. Self-reported type 2 diabetes was confirmed by a validated supplementary questionnaire. We documented 6,165 (NHS I) and 3,961 (NHS II) incident type 2 diabetes cases during the 18–20 years of follow-up. In the Cox proportional models adjusted for diabetes risk factors, duration of shift work was monotonically associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes in both cohorts. Compared with women who reported no shift work, the pooled hazard ratios (95% confidence intervals) for participants with 1–2, 3–9, 10–19, and ≥20 years of shift work were 1.05 (1.00–1.11), 1.20 (1.14–1.26), 1.40 (1.30–1.51), and 1.58 (1.43–1.74, p-value for trend <0.001), respectively. Further adjustment for updated body mass index attenuated the association, and the pooled hazard ratios were 1.03 (0.98–1.08), 1.06 (1.01–1.11), 1.10 (1.02–1.18), and 1.24 (1.13–1.37, p-value for trend <0.001).
Conclusions Our results suggest that an extended period of rotating night shift work is associated with a modestly increased risk of type 2 diabetes in women, which appears to be partly mediated through body weight. Proper screening and intervention strategies in rotating night shift workers are needed for prevention of diabetes.