Job Insecurity and Diabetes
These are tough times that we live in, financially speaking. The economies of a number of countries around the world are struggling. Even nations not experiencing a recession at this time, such as the United States, are hurting. Jobs have shifted out of many sectors, and the economy never fully rebounded after the last downturn. All of this makes people feel financially insecure. If you have been stressed out over the possibility of your company downsizing or your position being phased out, you are far from alone. And now, to make matters even worse, this may be taking a toll on your health. According to new research, worrying over losing your job appears to be linked to diabetes.
The study, which took place at University College London in the United Kingdom, found that employees who feel that their jobs could be in jeopardy may have an elevated risk of developing type 2 diabetes.1 The subjects were 140,825 adults who were involved in one of 19 different comprehensive investigations. They were all living and working in the United States, Europe, or Australia, and their average age was 42.
After answering baseline questions about their confidence in their job security, the participants were tracked for more than nine years on average, and cases of diabetes were noted. The researchers then analyzed all of this data and determined that the rate of diabetes was 19 percent higher in those individuals who were worried about losing their jobs than it was among those who did not consider their jobs to be at risk. In addition, the volunteers feeling insecure about their employment status were also found to have an increased risk of coronary heart disease compared to their more confidently employed peers.
The investigation was not designed to prove cause and effect, so there is no way to say for certain that the job stress led to the development of diabetes in any of these individuals. However, there is a substantial enough jump in the rates of diabetes among those reporting feelings of job insecurity that an association can be clearly drawn. And this is a large study that incorporated a broad population sample from around the world, strengthening its findings.
Plus, the results are in line with those of other research into other stress related health problems. For instance, a 2010 study at the University of Rochester School of Medicine in New York showed that workplace stress and fear of unemployment are a contributing factor for weight gain.2 That is an easy connection to make with the current investigation since carrying excess weight is a prominent risk factor for type 2 diabetes. And the finding within the study of a greater likelihood of developing coronary heart disease in those with less job security is also linked to the same issues, as coronary heart disease is commonly a complication of diabetes.
So what’s a working guy or gal supposed to do about work worries, short of winning the lottery? Although you may not be able to control the stresses inherent in your job, there are, nevertheless, plenty of ways to protect your health, even in an uncertain job climate. If you’re overweight, strive to shed those extra pounds. Forget fad diets and stick with the basics to lose weight steadily. Make changes to your diet that include cutting out junk food, empty calories, and sugary drinks. Focus on eating more natural, nutritious foods every day.
Start working out daily too. Exercise was shown in a 2007 study at the University of Missouri-Columbia to control diabetes better than other lifestyle changes.3 And it has the added benefit of reducing stress levels, which will help you avoid some of the negative effects of your job worries. Incorporate other stress-busting techniques into your everyday routine as well. Give meditation, yoga, or massage a try and see what proves effective for you. When you take a healthy approach to life in general, you gain a measure of protection from the impact of stress and lower your chances of being diagnosed with diabetes and a host of other ailments as well.
- 1. Ferrie, Jane E.; et al. "Job insecurity and risk of diabetes: a meta-analysis of individual participant data." CMAJ. 3 October 2016. Accessed 8 October 2016. http://www.cmaj.ca/content/early/2016/10/03/cmaj.150942.
- 2. Fernandez, Isabel Diana; et al. "Association of Workplace Chronic and Acute Stressors With Employee Weight Status: Data from Worksites in Turmoil." Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine. January 2010. Accessed 9 October 2016. http://journals.lww.com/joem/Abstract/2010/01001/Association_of_Workplace_Chronic_and_Acute.7.aspx.
- 3. Conn, V.S.; et al. "Metabolic effects of interventions to increase exercise in adults with type 2 diabetes." Diabetologia. May 2017. Accessed 9 October 2016. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00125-007-0625-0.