News

Shift workers warned of obesity and type 2 diabetes risk

Scientists have raised concerns that shift workers face higher levels of obesity that can lead to type 2 diabetes.
33 per cent of men and 22 per cent of women of working age in England were found to be doing shift work after a report from the Health and Social Care Information Centre.
Shifts were defined as employment outside of 0700-1900, with 30 per cent of shift workers found to be obese, compared to 24 per cent of men and 23 per cent of women doing normal hours.
Type 2 diabetes risk
Obesity is one of the factors that can increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and is believed to account for 80-85 per cent of the risk of type 2 diabetes developing.
As well as the additional percentage of shift workers who were obese compared to those working normal hours, 40 per cent of men and 45 per cent of women working shifts were found to have other long-standing health conditions.
These included back pain, diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which compared to 36 per cent of men and 39 per cent of women in the rest of the population.
Shift work warnings
“Overall, people who are doing shift work are not quite as healthy as their counterparts doing regular working hours,” said Rachel Craig, the research director for the Health Survey for England.
Dr Simon Archer, a body clock scientist at the University of Surrey backed up these findings by warning that shift work is bad for the body.
“Shift work is becoming increasingly common and it’s causing a lot of problems to a lot of people and in particular the link with cancer is becoming stronger. Obesity is the clear link, and that also leads to type 2 diabetes.”

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