Weighing in on Your Schedule: Is Your Night Shift Making You Fat


Night Shift: Research Shows a Link Between Shift Work and Obesity

A work-around-the-clock culture is making shift workers fat and unhealthy. According to a series of studies, it’s now clear there’s a link between shift work and obesity, and especially for night shift workers.

Researches have been studying shift work health risks and have found that working the night shift means burning less energy and therefore increasing the risk of weight gain and other health risks like cancer. This means that those in charge of scheduling must modify their workers’ schedules to avoid prolonged exposure to long-term night shift work.

Shift Work and Obesity

In a 2017 study published in Obesity Reviews, researchers evaluated the associations between shift work patterns and risks of specific types of obesity. They analyzed data related to people who worked various shifts in sectors such as healthcare, government, manufacturing, telecommunications, and transit.

What the study found was that people who worked nights all the time demonstrated a 29% higher risk than rotating shift workers. Abdominal obesity was the most common type among those who were overweight. It’s also the most dangerous type since fat builds around the stomach and damages organs.

“Globally, nearly 0.7 billion workers are engaged in a shift work pattern. Our study revealed that much of the obesity and overweight among shift workers is attributable to such a job nature,” said Dr. Lap Ah Tse, senior author of the study. “Obesity has been evident to be positively associated with several adverse health outcomes, such as breast cancer, cardiovascular diseases.”

Keep reading: Page 1 of 3