Working hours and cardiometabolic health - an emerging area of nutritional research

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Multifactorial work‐related diseases are diseases that occur in the general population, but may be exacerbated or partially caused by occupational exposures. There is increasing evidence to suggest that type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases are associated with duration and time of working hours. Despite the role of diet in the aetiology of cardiometabolic disease being well established, gaps remain in understanding the relationship between working hours and diet. Studies that have compared the diets of shift to non‐shift workers have reported inconsistent results, likely due to the heterogeneity of study design, including variations in the industry studied and dietary measurement methods used. There is a paucity of research investigating dietary intakes across different shift types, both inside and outside of working hours and in relation to duration of working hours. From the published research that exists, there appears to be growing consensus that night working is associated with a change in the temporal distribution of energy intake and poorer food choices. Epidemiological studies have shown that consuming a higher percentage of energy during the evening is positively associated with metabolic syndrome, while controlled studies have demonstrated an altered metabolic response to eating at night compared to during daytime hours. In the UK, 15% of the working population are employed in jobs that require shift work and 13% of employees work more than 48 hours per week. Understanding the complex relationship between working hours, diet and cardiometabolic health will provide an opportunity to improve the health of a significant proportion of the population.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)255-261
JournalNutrition Bulletin
Issue number3
Early online date10 Aug 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2018


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