Monday, 15 December 2014
Shift workers 'sicker and fatter'
Health Survey for England data showed they were in worse health despite often being young.
The lead researcher told the BBC that the rise of zero-hours contracts may be increasing the numbers doing shift work and could raise "pretty serious problems" for the nation's health.
Scientists said it was "fairly clear now" that shift work was unhealthy.
The report, by the Health and Social Care Information Centre, showed 33% of men and 22% of women of working age were doing shift work.
They defined shifts as employment outside 0700-1900.
Rachel Craig, the research director for the Health Survey for England, told the BBC: "Overall, people who are doing shift work are not quite as healthy as their counterparts doing regular working hours."
The data showed 30% of shift workers were obese, compared with 24% of men and 23% of women doing normal hours.
Meanwhile, 40% of men and 45% of women on shifts had long-standing health conditions such as back-pain, diabetes or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease compared with 36% and 39% of the rest of the population.
Ms Craig said that, overall, young people should be in better health: "You'd expect less ill-health and fewer long-standing conditions that reflect lifestyle like obesity, so it makes it an even stronger relationship [between shifts and poor health]."
There is mounting scientific evidence on how disrupted sleep affects the normal rhythms of the body clock and leads to a wide-range of diseases.
Full BBC article here.