Work stress doubles the risk of developing diabetes for women who have little or no control over what they do on the job, according to a new Canadian study.
The same is not true for men.
"Men and women react differently to workplace stress," said Peter Smith, lead author of the nine-year study by researchers at the Institute for Work and Health and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences in Toronto.
Smith suggested that women under stress may be "more likely to turn to foods with higher fat and sugar content than men," as one possible explanation for the results.
The primary reasons outlined in the study for the increased risk for women are the disruptions of neuroendocrine and immune system functioning and increased or prolonged cortisol and sympathetic hormone release in reaction to stress; and changes in diet and energy expenditure, possibly as coping mechanisms.
The researchers followed 7,443 women working in Canada's Ontario province with no previous diagnoses for diabetes.
Their results, published this week in the journal of Occupational Medicine, showed that 19 percent of cases of diabetes in women are due to "low job control," which is higher than that for smoking, drinking or low physical activity, but lower than for obesity.
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