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Study links demanding jobs to type 2 diabetes

People with high-stress, low-control jobs are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than unstressed workers — even without other risk factors, according to a new German study.

To explore the connection, lead study author Karl-Heinz Ladwig of the Technical University in Munich and his team followed 5,337 participants, ages 29 to 66 years, for more than 12 years. The participants did not have diabetes at the onset of the study. Each participant answered a Karasek job content questionnaire to measure job strain.
Based on the answers, participants were subdivided into groups: low job strain, high job strain, passive and active.

Participants with demanding jobs who had control over how their work got done, or those with undemanding jobs, were considered to have “low job strain,” according to a Reuters Health article. High job strain was defined by the quadrant approach, where high job demands combined with low job control were classified as high job strain.

During a median follow-up of 12.7 years, 291 incident cases of type 2 diabetes were observed. The participants with high job strain at baseline had a 45% higher risk to develop type 2 diabetes than did those with low job strain. More severe job strain contributed to a 12% increased in type 2 diabetes risk. The passive or active categories contributed the next largest number of cases, followed by the low job strain group, with 4%, according to the Reuters article.

In general, the participants with high job strain were more often female, physically inactive, smoked and had low education levels. But none of these variables made a difference in the diabetes risk based on job strain, according to the Reuters article.

The researchers concluded that men and women who experience high job strain are at higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes independent of traditional risk factors and that preventive strategies to combat the diabetes should consider the adverse effects of high strain in the work environment. “People are very engaged in their job situation and they have no distance from it, and I think that we should get into a balanced life situation where working is one part which is important but not the only important thing in the world,” Ladwig said in the article.

Study abstract available at:

By | 2014-09-05T00:00:00-04:00 September 5th, 2014|Categories: National|0 Comments

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