Science

Diabetes Risk Cut Down By Friendly Colleagues

By Enozia Vakil , May 15, 2013 08:12 AM EDT
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Friendly workplace colleagues could reduce the risk of one suffering from type 2 diabetes, new research suggests.

Researchers at the Tel Aviv University in Israel discovered that people who face stressful situations at work, and have unfriendly colleagues tend to have a much greater risk of developing diabetes than those who do not, regardless of whether the person is healthy, or not.

The report from Science Daily claims that people who have friendly and supportive colleagues at their workplace are 22 percent less likely to fall prey to type 2 diabetes. On the other hand, chronic stress at the workplace, and peer pressure, could contribute to a huge 18 percent elevated risk of developing the condition.

The study, carried out by Dr Sharon Toker, took into consideration 5,843 people, all of which were healthy and had no signs of diabetes. A close monitoring of these people was done for 41 months, after which, 182 people showed signs of type 2 diabetes.

When compared with those who did not develop diabetes, Toker noticed that a negative environment at work was what actually contributed to the development of diabetes. Having supportive colleagues can be a protective, powerful influence, according to Toker.

The study was carried out in collaboration with Professor Arie Shirom, TAU; Dr Galit Armon from the University of Harifa; and Dr Samuel Melamed from Tel Aviv Yaffo Academic College. The routine physical examinations, carried out for a period of 3.5 years, were done at the Tel Aviv health center.

"You don't want to see working populations have an increasing rate of diabetes. It's costly to both employees and employers, resulting in absenteeism and triggering expensive medical insurance," she explains.

A right balance at workplace can help promote good health among the employees and encourage better performance. Increased workloads and peer pressure can take a toll on the general health of individuals, Sharon warns.

A network of emotional support, confidence and praise for the good work done can minimize the possible health effects arising as a result of stress and work burden. New strategies involving better office communication, better social networks and bonding, and co-operation among co-workers is necessary to prevent the occurrence of such conditions.

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