The mediating role of lifestyle in the relationship between shift work, obesity and diabetes

Gerben Hulsegge, Karin I. Proper, Bette Loef, Heleen Paagman, Johannes R. Anema*, Willem van Mechelen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: Shift work has been related to obesity and diabetes, but the potential mediating role of lifestyle is yet unknown. Our aim was to investigate this mediating role of physical activity, diet, smoking, and sleep quality in the relationships between shift work, and obesity and diabetes. Methods: In this cross-sectional study, 3188 shift workers and 6395 non-shift workers participated between 2013 and 2018 in periodical occupational health checks. Weight and height were objectively measured to calculate obesity (BMI ≥ 30 kg/m 2). Diabetes status, physical activity, diet, smoking, and sleep quality were assessed using standardized questionnaires. Structural equation models adjusted for relevant confounders were used to analyze the mediating role of lifestyle in the relationships between shift work, and obesity and diabetes. Results: Shift workers were more often obese (OR: 1.37, 95% CI 1.16–1.61) and reported more often to have diabetes (OR:1.35, 95% CI 1.003–1.11) than non-shift workers. Shift workers had lower physical activity levels, ate fruit and vegetables less often, smoked more often, and had poorer sleep quality (p < 0.05). Mediation analysis revealed that shift workers had a higher odds of obesity (OR: 1.07, 95% CI 1.01–1.15) and diabetes (OR: 1.13, 95% CI 1.02–1.27) mediated by poorer sleep quality. Lower physical activity levels (OR: 1.11, 95% CI 1.05–1.19) and lower intake of fruit and vegetables (OR: 1.04, 95% CI 1.01–1.15) were also mediators in the relationship between shift work and obesity, but not in the relationship between shift work and diabetes (p ≥ 0.05). Conclusion: These results imply that interventions targeting diet, physical activity and in particular sleep problems specifically developed for shift workers could potentially reduce the adverse health effects of shift work.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health
Early online date2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2021

Cite this