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Study ties shift work to unhealthy eating habits

The National Safety Council (NSC) has been a nonprofit safety advocate in America for more than 100 years. In its Safety+Health publication, the NSC brings attention to a study conducted by researchers at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.

Published in the peer-reviewed medical journal, Advances in Nutrition, the research confirmed what we have often heard: nightshift work is hazardous to your health.

Although shift work may be more convenient or pay more, it puts workers at increased risk of chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

But why?

For the first time, this study revealed that rotating shift workers may be eating more kilojoules with a large proportion at night, helping to explain why they face increased risk of chronic diseases.

  • A kilojoule is a measure of the energy in food and drink.

“‘The foods and drinks typically consumed by rotating workers were more fried and fatty foods, confectionary, sweetened drinks, and alcohol, with fewer core foods such as dairy, meat, fruit and vegetables.'” Safety+Health reports. “‘There was also a pattern of more meals per day and frequent snacking at night.'”

  • Shift work is regularly performed outside of the standard 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. work hours and can involve fixed shifts such as night work only or rotating shifts.
  • Rotating shifts regularly rotate around the clock between different shift types with hours of work changing repeatedly.

Monash University is now conducting trials on three weight-loss strategies for night-shift workers.

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