Journal scan

Night shift work may cause weight gain, review suggests

Night shift workers have a 23% higher risk of becoming overweight or obese, a study suggests.

Night shift workers have a 23% higher risk of becoming overweight or obese, a study suggests.

A review of 28 studies discovered those who work at night had a higher frequency of developing abdominal obesity than other obesity types.

The risk was more prominent among long-term night shift workers, according to the research led by The Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Permanent night workers demonstrated a 29% higher risk than rotating shift workers.

The findings suggest that modifying working schedules to avoid prolonged exposure to long-term night shift work might help reduce the risk of obesity.

‘Our study revealed that much of the obesity and overweight among shift workers is attributable to such a job nature,’ said senior author Lap Ah Tse. ‘Obesity has been evident to be positively associated with several adverse health outcomes, such as breast cancer, cardiovascular diseases.’

Previous studies have suggested links between night shifts and a range of health problems including fatigue, reduction in quantity and quality of sleep, anxiety, depression, adverse cardiovascular effects and gastrointestinal disorders.

Sun M et al (2017). Meta-analysis on shift work and risks of specific obesity

Types. Obesity Reviews. doi: 10.1111/obr.12621

Fast fact: 20% of the global workforce works shifts

This article is for subscribers only

Jobs