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Researchers find shift work triggers obesity and ill-health

By Tim Sandle     Dec 15, 2014 in Health
London - New research has found that there are higher rates of obesity and ill-health in shift workers when compared with the general population.
The findings are based on a U.K., study commissioned by the Health Survey for England. The report concludes that it is "fairly clear now" that shift work is unhealthy.
The lead researcher told the BBC that a rise in zero-hours contracts was leading to increasing numbers of people carrying out shift work. The longer-term fear is that this rise in unsocial hours working could lead to serious problems for the healthcare system.
For the purposes of the study, shift work was defined by working outside of the hours 7 a.m.-7 p.m.
The key findings were:
Thirty percent of shift workers are obese, compared with twenty-four percent in the normal population.
Forty percent of men and forty-five percent of women on shifts had long-standing health conditions such as back-pain, diabetes or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease This is much higher than the rest of the population.
Current cigarette smoking prevalence was higher among shift workers than non shift
workers.
Daily fruit and vegetable consumption was lower among shift workers than non shift
workers.
Night work and other forms of shift work have long been associated with poor health and illness as workers fight against the natural circadian rhythms of the body (in relation to the human body clock). One disease link relates to diabetes. Another study suggests that this can also lead to immune system disorders.
More about shift work, Circadian, Obesity
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