Long working hours, socioeconomic status, and the risk of incident type 2 diabetes: a meta-analysis of published and unpublished data from 222 120 individuals
2015-10-29T15:12:09Z (GMT) by
Background Working long hours might have adverse health effects, but whether this is true for all socioeconomic status groups is unclear. In this meta-analysis stratified by socioeconomic status, we investigated the role of long working hours as a risk factor for type 2 diabetes. Methods We identified four published studies through a systematic literature search of PubMed and Embase up to April 30, 2014. Study inclusion criteria were English-language publication; prospective design (cohort study); investigation of the effect of working hours or overtime work; incident diabetes as an outcome; and relative risks, odds ratios, or hazard ratios (HRs) with 95% CIs, or sufficient information to calculate these estimates. Additionally, we used unpublished individual-level data from 19 cohort studies from the Individual-Participant-Data Meta-analysis in Working-Populations Consortium and international open-access data archives. Effect estimates from published and unpublished data from 222 120 men and women from the USA, Europe, Japan, and Australia were pooled with random-effects meta-analysis. Findings During 1·7 million person-years at risk, 4963 individuals developed diabetes (incidence 29 per 10 000 personyears). The minimally adjusted summary risk ratio for long (≥55 h per week) compared with standard working hours (35–40 h) was 1·07 (95% CI 0·89–1·27, difference in incidence three cases per 10 000 person-years) with signifi cant heterogeneity in study-specific estimates (I²=53%, p=0·0016). In an analysis stratified by socioeconomic status, the association between long working hours and diabetes was evident in the low socioeconomic status group (risk ratio 1·29, 95% CI 1·06–1·57, diff erence in incidence 13 per 10 000 person-years, I²=0%, p=0·4662), but was null in the high socioeconomic status group (1·00, 95% CI 0·80–1·25, incidence diff erence zero per 10 000 person-years, I²=15%, p=0·2464). The association in the low socioeconomic status group was robust to adjustment for age, sex, obesity, and physical activity, and remained after exclusion of shift workers. Interpretation In this meta-analysis, the link between longer working hours and type 2 diabetes was apparent only in individuals in the low socioeconomic status groups.