Shift work has been linked to poor physical and mental health, including overweight or obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and mental health problems. Shift work takes place on a schedule outside the traditional 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. day, and can involve night shifts, early morning shifts, and rotating shifts. Many industries rely on shift work. Researchers from Ireland have recently looked at how challenging it is for shift workers to maintain healthy behaviors known to reduce the risk of diabetes and other serious diseases. These healthy behaviors include eating more fruits and vegetables, drinking less soda and being physically active (based on guidelines from doctors and health experts). Researchers found that shift workers eat less fruits and vegetables and drink more soda than regular day workers. Shift workers with access to vending machines in their workplace were also much more likely to drink soft drinks at least weekly. The researchers also found that men with lower incomes were less likely to eat the recommended daily servings of fruits and vegetables. Middle-aged shift workers and those with fewer break times at work were much less likely to be active. This study highlights the need for employers to stock healthy food and drinks in vending machines and give shift workers adequate break times.


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