Examining diabetes and workforce health

How diabetes affects the labour market and vice versa

Aim and purpose
Evidence is still surprisingly sparse in establishing the extent to which diabetes affects the capacity of individuals to remain active participants in the labour market. Thus, in order to build an evidence base for the development of relevant interventions in the labour market, this study begins by obtaining more knowledge about the relationship between diabetes and individuals’ capacity to work.

For our overall objective, we will use national registers to identify the risk of getting type 2 diabetes before retirement age among different groups of the working population, and we will assess the socioeconomic consequences of diabetes on the workforce.

We intend to:

  • Investigate how the labour market is influenced by diabetes,
  • Investigate the role of the working environment and lifestyle factors for the risk of getting diabetes (following three cohorts),
  • Provide the basis for and develop more tailored interventions targeting specific occupational groups.

This research is intended to contribute to establishing a greater awareness of how diabetes affects the labour market in terms of both societal and individual outcomes. This, in turn, is intended to create a basis for more focus on diabetes in the field of occupational safety and health (OSH).

Design/method and theory
Steno Health Promotion Center has, in collaboration with The National Research Center for the Working Environment, created a new database at Statistics Denmark by linking the National Diabetes Register with the Danish Register for Evaluation of Marginalization (DREAM); the Integrated Database for Labour Market Research (IDA); the Occupational Hospitalization Register (EHR) and the register of Medical Product Statistics.

We will study the risk of developing diabetes in different workforce populations in three cohorts:

  • The National Work Environment Cohort (10-year risk of developing diabetes in a representative cohort of Danish workers),
  • The Healthy Bus Cohort (a high risk, predominantly male, group with a large
    prevalence of ethnic minority workers,
  • The Homecare Assistant Cohort (a six year follow-up in a predominantly female group with a high risk of diabetes and a relatively large proportion of ethnic minority employees).

Target groups
Our main target group is people of working age with – or at risk of developing – diabetes. In addition, our work also targets researchers and professionals within the field of occupational health and safety. In the research community, this work will contribute to awareness of the risk of diabetes in specific groups of the workforce.

As such, this research is of general interest to various scientific disciplines, including public health and social epidemiology. Companies, unions and other stakeholders will also have a substantial interest in the results of this research.

We expect outcome in three main areas

  • A range of scientific articles detailing the occupational causes and consequences of diabetes.
  • Detailed knowledge about the role of working environmental factors on diabetes risk.
  • An evidence base for developing relevant interventions targeting workplace risks related to diabetes.


Collaborating partners
• The National Research Centre for the Working Environment 

Sidst opdateret 14-02-2017