An unhealthy lifestyle and working night shifts is associated with an increased risk of Type 2 Diabetes. Research continues to support the overall health benefits of adopting a healthy lifestyle, such as not smoking, having a healthy weight, a healthy diet ,and exercising regularly. Researchers found that nurses working night shifts who also had an unhealthy lifestyle were at an increased risk for developing Type 2 Diabetes. Women with both of these factors were at an even greater risk, as compared to men. Additionally, it was found that for every 5 years of rotating night shift work, nurses had a 30% increased risk of Type 2 Diabetes. Adding an unhealthy lifestyle more than doubled the risk, making an individual 2.83 times more likely to develop Type 2 Diabetes. They explained that an unhealthy lifestyle includes smoking, getting less than 30 minutes per day of physical activity, having a poor diet, and not maintaining a healthy weight (BMI >25). Individuals with three or more of these unhealthy lifestyle factors were at an increased risk of developing the disease.
Shift work, particularly at night, has been linked to an increased risk of Type 2 Diabetes, Cardiovascular Disease, and certain types of cancer. Furthermore, shift workers have higher rates of obesity and smoking. Research has illustrated that the more years an individual spends on rotating shift work, the more likely they are to be smokers and have a higher BMI. These findings are particularly important as 1 in 5 US workers have non-standard working hours. Of this group, nurses make up one third of the population. Most cases of Type 2 Diabetes could be prevented with an adherence to a healthy lifestyle. These benefits are even larger for those who are rotating night shift workers. It is important that those who are at a higher risk, particularly female night shift workers, establish a healthy lifestyle in order to reduce their risk of disease such as Type 2 Diabetes, Cardiovascular Disease, and cancer. The Healthy Lifestyle Center can help by providing consultations specific to establishing a healthy lifestyle. Additionally, we can help by providing support for maintaining a healthy lifestyle and reducing the risk of Type 2 Diabetes.
By Matt Lewandowski
Sources: Shan, Z., et al. (2018). Rotating night shift work and adherence to unhealthy lifestyle in predicting risk of type 2 diabetes: Results from two large US cohorts of female nurses. BMI, 363, k4641; Night Shifts and Unhealthy Lifestyle combine to Up Risk of Diabetes. Liam Davenport, Medscape, November 23, 2018.