Night Shift Work Linked To Increased Risk of Obesity Interview with:
Sun Miaomiao

Prof. Shelly Tse
JC School of Public Health and Primary Care
The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Sha Tin, Hong Kong What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Approximately 20% of the overall workforce is involving in a shift work schedule, which is equivalent to nearly 0.7 billion workers. It has been several studies and systematic reviews reported that shift work could contribute a risk to abdominal obesity, that was identified to be associated with increased mortality. However, the previous related studies derived from different industries and companies that held with various occupational settings of night shift work, and the results have been inconsistent or lack of statistical power. We believed that a better understanding of the knowledge gaps on the associations between specific obesity types and different shift work settings has important implications for occupational health practice. Our meta-analysis provided a clearer picture for the association between night shift work and overweight/ obesity with a potential gradient association, especially for the abdominal obesity. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: The overall odds ratio of night shift work was 1.29 (95% confidence interval = 1.17–1.29) for risk of obesity/overweight. Considering different obesity types, shift workers had a higher frequency of developing abdominal obesity (odds ratio = 1.35) than other obesity types (such as BMI≥25 kg/m2, BMI ≥30 kg/m2, etc.). Considering different types of shift work schedule, permanent night workers demonstrated a 29% higher risk than rotating shift workers (odds ratio 1.43 vs. 1.14). What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Large-scale prospective cohort studies with more accurate measurements of night shift work and obesity in future research are needed. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: Our research team has initiated a Chinese Night Shift Cohort at the year of 2013. We hope that with a long period of follow-up, this ongoing cohort could contribute more meaningful findings to the related areas, Thank you for your contribution to the community.


Sun, W. Feng, F. Wang, P. Li, Z. Li, M. Li, G. Tse, J. Vlaanderen, R. Vermeulen, L. A. Tse. Meta-analysis on shift work and risks of specific obesity types. Obesity Reviews, 2017; DOI: 10.1111/obr.12621

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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Last Updated on October 9, 2017 by Marie Benz MD FAAD