Shift Work Leads to Poor Diet, Health
Shift work is often linked to poor eating habits and sleep disorders, and now a new report from a British health journal suggests that conditions like obesity and type 2 diabetes ought to be listed as occupation hazards of hourly employment. According to the Los Angeles Times, an editorial from Britain’s PLoS Medicine highlights the risks of weight- and sleep-related disorders attendant with shift work.
According to the authors, one recent study followed nearly 70,000 women for 18 to 20 years and found that rotating night shift work was associated with an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. And that’s only one issue at work, they say.
“If the data from this and other studies are to be taken at face value, shift work has the potential to accelerate the progression of the global epidemic of obesity and diabetes,” editors of the journal wrote. “Obviously, diet is only one component in the pathway to diabetes, but, unlike the metabolic consequences of a deranged circadian rhythm, it is potentially amenable to easy intervention.”
But getting people to engage in healthy behaviors can be difficult, and the workplace environment usually doesn’t offer the kind of support shift workers need. Access to junk food and fast food exacerbates the problems of poor eating, and office work especially is notorious for leading to primarily sedentary lifestyles.