Health-Sector Shift Work Linked to Increased Odds of Metabolic Syndrome

FRIDAY, July 1, 2022 — For employees of the health sector, shift work is associated with increased risk of metabolic syndrome (MetS), according to a systematic review and meta-analysis published online June 22 in Obesity Reviews.

Piumika Sooriyaarachchi, from the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia, and colleagues conducted a systematic review of the literature to examine the association between shift work and the risk of MetS in employees of the health sector. Eligible studies compared the prevalence of MetS between day and shift health care workers; 12 studies met the inclusion criteria.

The sample sizes in the studies varied from 42 to 738 participants, and subject age ranged from 18 to 65 years. Ten and two of the studies had high and average methodological quality, respectively. The researchers found that 10 of the studies demonstrated higher risk of developing MetS for shift workers versus day workers. Based on 12 studies, the pooled odds ratio for MetS in shift workers was 2.17.

“To safeguard shift workers from MetS, health promotion programs as well as other interventional strategies to adopt healthy environmental and behavioral changes should be introduced,” the authors write. “In addition, organizations should streamline the shift work system with well-designed rotational shift schedules to allow employees to maintain work/life balance.”

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