Study finds work schedules may contribute to obesity among nurses

August 15, 2012

Baltimore – Nurses who work long hours, are on call or have a high workload may be at higher risk for obesity, concludes a study from the University of Maryland.

Researchers compared 700 nurses working “adverse work schedules” – defined as having long work hours, a high work burden and lack of rest, as well as being required to work on-call or overtime – to 1,000 nurses with more favorable schedules.

In the adverse schedule group, obese nurses reported less sleep and exercise; they also were more likely to care for children or dependents, the study abstract stated.

By comparison, obesity among nurses in the other group was associated with unhealthy behaviors – such as smoking and alcohol use – and having more input but less support at work.

Researchers said nurses with adverse work schedules may need extra support to prevent obesity and related health problems.

The study was published in the August issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.