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Workers in manufacturing, driving, cleaning jobs more likely to get type 2 diabetes

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Scientists blamed unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as a lack of exercise and smoking, for the “striking differences” for type 2 diabetes

Workers in manufacturing, driving and cleaning jobs are more likely to get type 2 diabetes, according to a study of almost five million people.

They face a two to threefold increase in risk compared with teachers, physiotherapists and dentists.

Scientists blamed unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as a lack of exercise and smoking, for the “striking differences”.

If bosses helped their employees to live healthily, the researchers estimated almost half of type 2 diabetes cases could be avoided.

The study by the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm looked at 30 of the most common occupations and covered 4,550,892 Swedes.

Researchers followed up the incidence of diabetes at age 35 or over in participants from 2006 to 2015. They found that 4.2 per cent of the working population had the illness but the rate in men ranged from 8.8 per cent in motor vehicle drivers to 2.5 per cent in computer scientists.

The range for women was from 6.4 per cent in manufacturing to 1.2 per cent among specialist managers. Factory workers had up to 80 per cent more risk of developing diabetes than the general working population.

But male university teachers and female physiotherapists and dentists had a 45 per cent reduced risk.

The study’s authors said: “To reduce the future diabetes burden it is crucial to curb the inflow of new patients. If a job title can be used as a risk indicator of type 2 diabetes, it can be used to identify groups for targeted interventions, and hopefully inspire employers to implement prevention programmes tailored to their workforces.”

The researchers also looked into lifestyle habits and found a clear link between diabetes and obesity and lack of exercise.

Dr. Katarina Kos, a senior lecturer in diabetes and obesity at the University of Exeter, said: “This study shows that certain working environments require an increasing focus in introducing lifestyle change. Increasingly we learn that sedentary jobs with little flexibility to take intermittent breaks are unhealthy in the longer term.”

The study will be will be published in the journal Diabetologia.


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