New Reports Claim Shift Working Can Lead To Unhealthy Lifestyles

May 16, 2015  |  

In a series of new reports, Reuters Health claims shift work can lead to a poor diet and exercise lifestyle.

By tracking airline employees in Finland, researchers were able to discover that people work various night shifts consume more fat and less vegetables and fruits than daytime employees.

Katri Hemio, a nutritionist at the National Institute for Health and Welfare in Helsinki who worked on the study, stated, “The occupational health care unit personnel had noticed that many shift workers had health risks, In addition, 70 percent of airline workers were working in shifts and most of them had irregular work hours. This makes the population vulnerable to the potential risks of shift work.”

Previous research showed shift workers were exposed to an increase risk of heart diseases and diabetes.

The study worked by,

Including 1,478 airline employees in an airline screening and prevention program for chronic diseases from 2006 to 2009. A little over half were men. Some were day workers, some were shift workers who did not work on aircraft, and some were in-flight employees.

Health check-ups at the beginning of the study included diabetes risk screening, lab tests, physical measurements and a questionnaire on lifestyle, work and sleeping habits. Those at risk for diabetes also completed a 16-item questionnaire on how many and what types of meals they ate daily and were offered lifestyle counseling.

Health check-ups were repeated two and a half years later, when all participants completed the questionnaire again.

The results of the study were pretty interesting. The studies showed, male employees were less likely to eat at least one portion of vegetables per day. The women shift workers got 12.6% of their daily calories from saturated fat vs the 12.2% day workers receive.

Hermio also stated, “One result surprised us . . . we found that education level did not affect the results, It seems that shift work itself strongly affects workers’ eating habits.”

The study concluded that, “The most important message to other shift workers is that they should be aware of increased risk for chronic diseases and that healthy nutrition may lower the risk,” said Hermio.

This isn’t the first time shift work has made our headlines. Back in January 2015, a Black Women’s Health Study, stated, the risk of type 2 diabetes is actually higher among African-American women working the night shift.

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