Shift workers are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, regardless of their genetic risk, according to new research.

Shift work has long been linked to weight gain and poor sleep quality which can encourage unhealthy habits such as eating at irregular hours and getting less exercise.

In this new study from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, reviewed the impact of shift work on 270,000 people.

Using information on more than 100 genetic variants associated with type 2 diabetes, the study team then developed a genetic risk score for type 2 diabetes. They found that frequent shift work, particularly at night, increased type 2 diabetes risk factors, regardless of genetic predisposition.

All shift workers were more likely to have type 2 diabetes except for permanent night workers and permanent day workers. Those who worked irregular or rotating shifts had a 44% increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

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