Health + Wellness

Shift Work Might Promote An Unhealthy Lifestyle

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A new study conducted by the National Institute for Health and Welfare in Helsinki has suggested that shift work could lead to poor lifestyle choices.

Conducting their studies based on 1,478 airline employees in Finland in an airline screening and prevention program for chronic diseases from 2006 to 2009, researchers discovered that ground staff who worked on staggered and night shift positions consumed more fat and fewer vegetables and fruits than daytime ground personnel and in-flight workers. In addition, the findings also discovered that shift workers also tend to gain more weight, the more they work the varying schedules. Night shift workers also sleep less, which can cause metabolic and cardiovascular problems.

Male employees who worked shifts during the study period, mainly doing aircraft or customer service, were less likely to eat at least one portion of vegetables per day and consumed more calories from fat (33 percent) and saturated fat (12 percent) than the other two groups (day or in-flight shift workers).

Women shift workers on the other hand got 12.6 percent of their daily calories from saturated fat, compared to day workers’ 12.2 percent. Female in-flight and non-flight shift workers also used more high-fat milk products than day workers. The female shift workers also felt more stressed and led a more sedentary lifestyle than the other women employees. The in-flight workers had healthier metabolisms, according to the lab tests.

Health check-ups at the beginning of the study included diabetes risk screening, lab tests, physical measurements and a questionnaire on lifestyle, work and sleeping habits. Those at risk for diabetes also completed a 16-item questionnaire on how many and what types of meals they consume on a daily basis with the health check-ups repeated two and a half years later, when all participants completed the questionnaire again.




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