(HealthDay News) — Shift work is associated with an increased risk for diabetes, according to research published online in Occupational & Environmental Medicine.

Yong Gan, MD, of the Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, China, and colleagues conducted a meta-analysis of 12 observational studies with 28 independent reports; 226,652 participants were involved, including 14,595 patients with diabetes.

The researchers sought to assess the association between shift work and diabetes.

The researchers found that ever exposure to shift work was associated with increased risk for diabetes (pooled adjusted OR=1.09; 95% CI, 1.05-1.12; P=.014).

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Subgroup analysis showed a stronger association between shift work and risk for diabetes for men (OR=1.37; 95% CI, 1.20-1.56) than for women (OR=1.09; 95% CI, 1.04-1.14) (P for interaction=.01).

Compared with typical daytime schedules, all shift work schedules, except for mixed shifts and evening shifts, were associated with increased risk for diabetes and the difference between these shift work schedules was significant (P for interaction=.04).

“Given the increasing prevalence of shift work worldwide and the heavy economic burden of [diabetes], the results of our study provide practical and valuable clues for the prevention of [diabetes] and a study of its etiology,” the researchers wrote.


  1. Gan Y et al. Occup Environ Med. 2014;doi:10.1136/oemed-2014-102150.