Shift work and its relation with meal and snack patterns among healthcare workers

Gerben Hulsegge, Bette Loef, Tessa Benda, Allard J. van der Beek, Karin I. Proper*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Objective Unfavorable eating patterns might contribute to the adverse health effects of shift work. Our objective was to examine differences in meal and snack frequency, as well as the quality of snacks, between shift and day workers and between different types of shifts. Methods Cross-sectional data from 485 healthcare workers aged 18–65 years of the Klokwerk+ cohort study was used. Dietary intake was assessed using 3-day food diaries, and meals and snacks were classified by the food-based classification of eating episodes method. Using multivariable-adjusted regression analyses, we esti-mated differences in meal and snack frequency and the quality of snacks between shift and day workers. Within the shift working group, eating frequency on day, evening, and night shifts were compared to work-free days. Results Meal and snack frequency as well as the quality of snacks showed no significant differences between shift and day workers (P≥0.05). Shift workers had a higher frequency of high-quality snacks [β 0.29, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.12–0.46] and a lower frequency of low-quality snacks (β-0.29, 95% CI-0.49–-0.09) on evening shifts compared to their work-free days. Compared to work-free days, shift workers had a higher frequency of high-quality snacks on days shifts (β 0.24, 95% CI 0.10–0.38), and only those aged ≤40 years had a higher frequency of snacks on night shifts (β 0.53, 95% CI 0.06–1.00) (interaction by age P<0.05). Conclusion This study observed no differences between day and shift workers either in meal and snack frequency or in the quality of snacks. However, snacking patterns differed across shifts. Future research should investigate whether these snacking patterns contribute to the adverse health effects of shift work.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-151
Number of pages9
JournalScandinavian Journal of Work, Environment and Health
Volume46
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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