We all know that working too much can be hazardous to our health. But now, a recent study confirms it. According to the study published recently, women who consistently work 45 hours or more a week have a 63 percent higher greater risk of developing diabetes than women who work 35 to 40 hours a week. The study tracked over 7,000 Canadians over 12 years to come to these conclusions. Surprisingly, when factoring in things like smoking, alcohol and exercise were taken into account, the effect only lowered slightly to 51 percent, not enough to make a real impact.
Mahee Gilbert-Ouimet, an epidemiologist and postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Work and Health in Toronto was the lead on the study. Interestingly, this high risk of diabetes only effects women; men working longer amounts of hours were actually at a lower risk for developing diabetes. “I was surprised to see the somewhat protective effect of longer working hours among men,” Gilbert-Ouimet explains to Time.
This definitely has a higher impact on moms. The study found that women who worked 45 hours or more at work living with children under the age of 12 are likely to feel the effects of working more strongly. Gilbert-Ouimet also explains that the load is heavier on women because of all the unpaid work they're doing. In addition to working upwards of 45 hours outside of the home, they are then coming home and doing a majority of the work there too. Things like cleaning, cooking and child care often fall on the shoulders of women. Diabetes also has more harmful effects on mothers too; it can also effect their unborn children. This could present itself as miscarriage or birth defects.
Some of the other factors make a lot of sense when you consider them. One of the reasons that men working longer hours face a lower risk is because they reported more physical activity at work. Only 8 percent of the women who work longer hours were able to say the same. There is also the subject of pay. We all know that women are often paid less than men, even in the same jobs. So if you think about the fact that women are working longer hours and not getting paid the same, that could definitely begin to have a negative effect on their health. "Think about the stress of working harder and getting less for it," Gilbert-Ouimet said to CNN.
Stress levels have a huge impact on the body, as stress raises cortisol levels. The changes in the body's cortisol levels can directly trigger the way the body produces insulin, which is how diabetes in developed. If you also take into consideration the way stress manifests itself in people, such as poor diet and exercise. Changes in weigh can also effect cortisol levels.
"It's important for us to study women. They are still underevaluated in most areas of health, and it's a real shame, because if we look closer, there are still big inequalities," Gilbert-Ouimet said. She is absolutely right.