Studies have found that social factors are very important in coronary heart disease. Being depressed, having a dissatisfying job, or lacking good social support can increase your risk for disease. Three researchers in London asked whether the same is true of Type II diabetes, considering that some research has shown Type II diabetes may be more common among people of lower social position.
What the researchers wanted to know: Do social position and social factors like job satisfaction affect risk for Type II diabetes?
What they did: The researchers used a long-term study called the Whitehall II Study to look at more than 10,000 middle-aged members of the British civil service to find out how income correlates with mortality. The researchers found out all about participants' health and livescivil service grade, social networks, home ownership, etc.then followed them over time to find out whether they were later diagnosed with diabetes.
What they found: People at lower employment grades and people who had more trouble with money were more likely to be diagnosed with Type II diabetes later. Men who didn't own a car were also more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes, although this wasn't true of women. Of course, there's room for all kinds of confounding variables, like obesity and family history of diabetes. After adjusting for several of those factors, men at lower employment grades still had higher incidence of Type II diabetes; for women, the trend disappeared.
What the study means to you: Being at a low job level seems to increase risk for Type II diabetes, in men at least.
Caveats: In any long-term study, some people drop out or disappear; here, the researchers lost track of more lower-level employees than higher-level employees, so they may be missing out on some relationship between employment and diabetes.
Find out more: The Whitehall II Study: www.ucl.ac.uk
Read the article: Kumari, M., Head, J., and M. Marmot. "Prospective Study of Social and Other Risk Factors for Incidence of Type 2 Diabetes in the Whitehall II Study." Archives of Internal Medicine. Sept. 27, 2004, Vol. 164, pp. 18731880.
Abstract online: http://archinte.ama-assn.org