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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

BU Study Finds Black Women Working Night Shifts Have Increased Risk of Diabetes

African American women who work night shifts are significantly more likely to develop diabetes than those who have never worked nights, possibly because of sleep cycle disruptions, a new study by researchers from the Boston University Schools of Public Health (BUSPH) and Medicine (BUSM) shows.

The study, published in Diabetologia, the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes, found that the risk of diabetes increased as women spent more years working night shifts. Relative to never having worked nights, the increased risk of developing diabetes was 17 percent for one to two years of night shift work, 23 percent for three to nine years, and 42 percent for 10 or more years.

After adjusting for BMI (body-mass index) and lifestyle factors such as diet and smoking status, the association between increasing years of night shift work and diabetes risk remained statistically significant, with a 23 percent increase in those who had worked night shifts for 10 years or more, compared to those who never worked the night shift.

“Even though lifestyle factors and BMI explained a major part of the association of shift work with incident diabetes, women with a long duration of shift work had an increased risk of diabetes after control for those factors, suggesting the presence of additional causal pathways,” the authors wrote.

To read more about the study, go to: