Is Your Job Giving You Diabetes?

Though the “Great Recession” is considered over by economists, there are still many Americans who are living with unstable job prospects.

Some are unemployed, taking odd jobs here and there. Others are underemployed, working far below their skills and education level, simply out of necessity. Worse still, there are those employees whose industry is in flux, wondering if they will still have a job by the end of the day.

And according to new research, this job insecurity could be hurting more than just your bank account.

Job Insecurity and Your Health

Researchers at the of the University of Bristol, lead by Jane E. Ferrie, PhD, analyzed data from 19 studies throughout the U.S., Europe, and Australia, looking for a connection between type 2 diabetes risk and employment.

Their meta-analysis proved harrowing; after tracking over 140,000 participants over an average of 9.4 years, they found that those people in unstable work environments carried a 19 percent greater risk of developing diabetes.

Stressed, Sedentary, and Sick

Dr. Ferrie's study may leave some people scratching their heads. After all, what does employment have to do with your health? The answer lies in stress. People suffering from job insecurity have increased stress levels, which science already knows can be linked with a higher BMI, a greater risk for heart attacks, and other dangerous health concerns.

Another reason could be the lack of movement in the daily life of someone with job insecurity. When the job is on the line, people are far less likely to take breaks – and that means failing to get the daily exercise considered so crucial for overall health.

Dr. Ferrie and her team hope that their work leads to a change among employers – namely, a greater focus on health. “In an ideal world, the sort of thing I'd like to see come out of this study is a reduction in job insecurity and an increase in secure job contracts and reasonable wages,” Ferrie said.

In the meantime, individuals dealing with job insecurity – particularly those already at risk for type 2 diabetes, can work to improve their overall health by eating proper foods, minimizing stress, and getting regular exercise.

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Get a free 7-Day Diabetes Meal Plan from Constance Brown-Riggs who is a Registered Dietitian-Certified Diabetes Educator and who is also a national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.

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