Long work hours increase women’s risk of diabetes

If you work punishingly long hours, you may be physically fine now, but you are increasing your risk of not being fine in the future. A new study published in BMJ Diabetes Research & Care found that overwork can take an unseen toll on women’s health. Analyzing over 7,000 workers over a 12-year period in Ontario, Canada, the researchers found a link between diabetes risk and overwork for women, even when accounting for other diabetes risk factors like smoking, alcohol consumption, and weight.

“Working 45 hours or more per week was associated with an increased incidence of diabetes among women, but not men,” the study concluded. “Identifying modifiable risk factors such as long work hours is of major importance to improve prevention strategies and orient policy making.”

45 hours of work a week increases diabetes risk

Women working 45 hours or more a week had a 51% higher risk of diabetes than women who worked 35 hours a week or less. Men may have been spared from this particular health risk, but overwork in general is bad for everyone.

Although some work cultures still reward long hours, studies have proven that it does not help employees get ahead. In one five-year study on 5,000 employees and managers, management professor Morten Hansen found that if you work more than 50 hours a week, your performance stalls. It gets worse the more you work. If you work more than 65 hours a week, your performance and productivity takes a sharp tumble.

So next time your job asks you to pull an all-nighter to get the project done, recognize that this demand is going to have long-term consequences on your health and your ability to get future jobs done.