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Shift Work and Metabolic Disorders


Diabetes, obesity, CVD-all have been linked to disruption of the day-night rhythm caused by shift work. More facts and some tips for your shift-weary patients, here.

Shift work is known to cause dangerous disruption in the circadian rhythms that regulate sleeping and waking. Sleep disturbance and associated sleepiness lead to poor concentration, absenteeism, accidents, errors, injuries, and fatalities. Shift work is also linked to metabolic disturbances that lead to chronic disease such as obesity, diabetes and hypertension. The slides above offer evidence for these connections and also some tips for primary care physicians to offer at-risk patients.


  • Brum MC, Filho FF, Schnorr CC, et al. Shift work and its association with metabolic disorders. Diabetol Metab Syndr. 2015;7:45. doi:10.1186/s13098-015-0041-4. eCollection 2015.
  • Gangwisch JE, Malaspina D, Boden-Albala B, et al. Inadequate sleep as a risk factor for obesity: analyses of the NHANES I. Sleep. 2005;28:1289-1296.
  • van Drongelen A1, Boot CR, Merkus SL, et al. The effects of shift work on body weight change-a systematic review of longitudinal studies. Scand J Work Environ Health. 2011;37:263-275. doi:10.5271/sjweh.3143. Epub 2011 Jan 18.
  • Lin YC, Hsiao TJ, Chen PC, et al. Persistent rotating shift-work exposure accelerates development of metabolic syndrome among middle-aged female employees: a five-year follow-up. Chronobiol Int. 2009;26:740-755. doi:10.1080/07420520902929029.
  • Pan A, Schernhammer ES, Sun Q, et al. Rotating night shift work and risk of type 2 diabetes: two prospective cohort studies in women. PLoS Med. 2011;8:e1001141. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001141. Epub 2011 Dec 6.
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