December 28, 2011

Shift work connected to risk of Type 2 Diabetes


The song “Shiftwork“, by Kenny Chesney and George Straight, has been playing in my head since I read this headline this morning.

Shift Work Might Lead to Type 2 Diabetes, Obesity. According to a new study, shift workers are at greater risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes because of the lack of healthy food choices available to them.

Based on an editorial written by Dr. Virginia Barbour, chief editor of the journal PLoS Medicine, she warned that occupational health hazards arise with demanding work schedules – ‘unhealthy eating habits’ on the job can increase the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes.

The workday is longer. The demands on employees is stressful. The sentiment behind the editorial is a push for employers to offer healthier options for their eemployees food choices – like the foods available in vending machines and nearby fast food.

The study hypothesized that late-night workers are more likely to grab less healthier foods than those who work normal business hours. It is also likely that they get less sleep and exercise, contributing to the heightened risk of type 2 diabetes and obesity.

Along with the opinions issued by Barbour, she commented that people who participate in shift work need to be aware of the fact that their jobs could potentiate poor health outcomes. Furthermore, she advises that shift workers need to regard their work hours as their ‘normal hours’ and make adjustments accordingly to ensure a balanced diet and regular exercise.

To read the full editorial, please see PLoS Medicine.

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