Exercise, energy balance and the shift worker

Atkinson, G., Fullick, S., Grindey, C., Waterhouse, J. and Maclaren, D. (2008) Exercise, energy balance and the shift worker. Sports Medicine, 38 (8). pp. 671-685. ISSN 0112-1642.

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Shift work is now common in society and is not restricted to heavy industry or emergency services, but is increasingly found amongst ‘white collar’ occupations and the growing number of
service industries. Participation in shift work is associated with increased body mass index, prevalence of obesity and other health problems. We review the behavioural and biological
disturbances that occur during shift work and discuss their impact on leisure-time physical activity and energy balance.
Shift work generally decreases opportunities for physical activity and participation in sports. For those shift workers who are able to exercise, subjective and biological responses can be altered if
the exercise is taken at unusual times of day and/or if the shift worker is sleep-deprived. These altered responses may in turn impact on the longer-term adherence to an exercise programme. The favourable effects of exercise on body mass control and sleep quality have not been confirmed in shift workers. Similarly, recent reports of relationships between sleep duration and obesity have not been examined in a shift work context. There is no evidence that exercise can mediate certain circadian rhythm characteristics (e.g. amplitude or timing) for improved tolerance to shift work. Total energy intake and meal composition do not seem to be affected by participation in shift work. Meal frequency is generally reduced but snacking is increased on the night shift.
Unavailability of preferred foods in the workplace, a lack of time, and a reduced desire to eat at night explain these findings. ‘Normal’ eating habits with the family are also disrupted. The
metabolic responses to food are also altered by shift work-mediated disruptions to sleep and circadian rhythms. Whether any interactions on human metabolism exist between timing or
content of food intake and physical activity during shift work is not known at present. There are very few randomised controlled studies on the efficacy of physical activity or dietary
interventions during shift work. Some favourable effects of such interventions on fatigue levels at work have been reported, but biological and behavioural outcomes relevant to long-term health
and energy balance have not been studied adequately. In addition, recruitment and retention of research participants for randomised controlled trials of physical activity or dietary interventions has been very difficult. We present a model of the various behavioural and biological factors relevant to exercise and energy balance during shift work as a framework for future research.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0773 Personal health and hygiene > RA0781 Physical fitness. Exercise
Divisions: Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences > School of Human and Life Sciences
Depositing User: Dr Sarah Fullick
Date Deposited: 05 Jun 2017 14:04
Last Modified: 05 Jun 2017 14:04
URI: https://create.canterbury.ac.uk/id/eprint/15885

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00