What is it about?

Shift work has its own demands that set it apart from jobs with traditional working hours. Although shift work has a number of advantages, medical and scientific communities continue to report that shift work raises the risk of various diseases and has a negative impact on employees' general well-being. As to literature shift workers are at increased risk of health problems, such as digestive upsets, obesity, and heart disease. Although this field requires more in-depth and focused studies, a growing body of evidence continues to indicate that measures need to be taken to protect a significant section of the population. Therefore, the present study aims to systematically evaluate the literature to find the associations between exposure to shift work and body composition.

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Why is it important?

In fact, it is the excess accumulation of body fat that is responsible for most obesity-associated adverse health outcomes. However, the limitation of BMI is that it cannot distinguish between body fat mass and lean mass. Therefore, understanding the association of shiftwork with body composition is important for the formulation of effective strategies for the prevention of diseases. Our findings showed a significant increase in BF% of shift workers when compared to the non-shift group. Therefore in order to further clarify the underlying mechanisms, more and better quality studies on this field are necessary.


This article is special to me as it was my very first PhD publication. The findings of the study were very interesting and I hope it's a very good knowledge addition for the field of occupational health. However, the general message is that getting enough good-quality sleep and minimizing disruption to the body’s circadian rhythms are the best ways for shift workers to maintain their body composition health, and also limiting the years spent working at night is the best option for workers to reduce their risk of developing chronic diseases.

Piumika Sooriyaarachchi
Queensland University of Technology

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Shift work and body composition: a systematic review and meta-analysis, Minerva Endocrinology, June 2021, Edizioni Minerva Medica, DOI: 10.23736/s2724-6507.21.03534-x.
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