Risky night shift
Night shiftwork is in the spotlight again, with a Danish Cancer Society study showing that it is associated with a 40 percent increased risk of breast cancer in woman workers. Meanwhile, an Australian study showed that nurses and midwives who switched from day to night shift tended to put on weight, while those who moved from nights to days lost weight [surveyed over two years].
These studies come on top of research that showed an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes if you work night duty.
However, before panicking and quitting your night duty job, it’s important to read the fine print on all these types of studies – and also important to do all you can to get enough sleep and maintain a healthy weight, among other health habits.
The Danish study is very concerning and has given rise to new research in England, at the Oxford University cancer epidemiology unit, to investigate the disruption caused to body clocks by working patterns. But as Lisa Wilde, director of research at Breast Cancer Campaign, points out, “Two of the biggest risk factors – diet and physical activity outside of working hours – weren’t considered in this study.”
And Cancer Research UK’s health information officer Sarah Williams said, “For the moment, there is strong evidence that women can reduce the risk of breast cancer by keeping to a healthy weight, drinking less alcohol and being physically active.”
The diabetes study is also inconclusive about whether nightshift is a risk factor per se, as the study found a link between obesity, shiftwork and diabetes. This is where the Australian study is useful, as it indicates that something about being awake at night leads to increased appetite – whether nurses eat to stay alert or eat more junk food from vending machines just because it’s there and because regular mealtimes are harder to factor in to night shifts.
Whatever the research finds, it’s clear that night workers need to take special care of themselves.
- alyssaloves likes this
- pandemiclaughter likes this
- dorasnursing reblogged this from itsjustcharli
- scribbledshell reblogged this from itsjustcharli and added:
- viola-z likes this
- itsjustcharli posted this