Artificial outdoor light could be increasing your risk of diabetes

Nov 21, 2022
Exposure to outdoor artificial light has been linked to an increased risk of diabetes. Source: Getty

A new study has revealed a link between exposure to outdoor artificial light at night (LAN) and an increased risk of diabetes.

Diabetes is a chronic condition marked by high levels of glucose in the blood. It is caused either by the body’s inability to produce insulin (a hormone that keeps blood glucose levels in range) or by the body being unable to use insulin effectively, or a combination of both.

Even though the condition can often be effectively managed, diabetes can cause potential health complications that sufferers need to be aware of including stroke, heart attack, blindness and limb amputation.

The data published in Diabetologiafound a reduced ability in blood glucose control following exposure to artificial LAN, an increasing problem in the modern world with urban areas being overpopulated with streetlights.

The study’s results were measured by over nine million cases of diabetes in Chinese adults being linked to LAN exposure.

“There were significant associations between chronic exposure to higher intensity of outdoor LAN with increased risk of impaired glucose homoeostasis and diabetes prevalence,” the authors of the study said.

“Our findings contribute to the growing evidence that LAN is detrimental to health and point to outdoor LAN as a potential novel risk factor for diabetes.”

As reported by Science Dailythe study involved 98,658 participants who underwent “interviews to collect demographic, medical, household income, lifestyle, education and family history information”, as well as blood taken to note glucose levels.

The study found those who had higher exposure to artificial LAN had a 28 per cent increase in developing diabetes.

Diabetes presents a considerable challenge for the nation’s health system, with an estimated $3 billion spent on treating diabetes nationally and 1.3 million Australians living with the condition, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by AIHW (

Light pollution has been known to have negative effects on a range of animals including insects and birds, shortening their life cycle by altering the circadian rhythm – the built-in natural sleep-wake cycle.

Studies have also found that night-shift workers who are often exposed to intense artificial LAN had an increased risk of heart disease and an altered circadian rhythm.

“Despite over 80% of the world’s population being exposed to light pollution at night, this problem has gained limited attention from scientists until recent years,” the authors of the study stated.


IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your personal health requirements or existing medical conditions. That means it’s not personalised health advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a health-related decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get professional medical advice.

Leave your comment

Please sign in to post a comment.
Retrieving conversation…
Stories that matter
Emails delivered daily
Sign up