Researchers funded by NHLBI established that rotating night shift work combined with an unhealthy lifestyle significantly increase the risk of type 2 diabetes in women. The findings, published in the BMJ, are based on data from more than 143,000 U.S. female nurses.
Separately, unhealthy lifestyle factors – smoking, inactivity, overweight or obesity, and poor diet – and shift work have been linked to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. But researchers believe this is the first study to assess their combined effect; and the results stress the importance of a healthy lifestyle especially for shift workers.
While rotating night shift work and unhealthy lifestyle were associated with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes among female nurses; the study found that the combination of the two contributed to the risk much more than each individual factor.
“These findings suggest that most cases of type 2 diabetes could be prevented by adhering to a healthy lifestyle, and the benefits could be greater in rotating night shift workers,” concluded the authors.