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Shift work practices and opportunities for intervention
  1. Kyriaki Papantoniou1,2,
  2. Céline Vetter3,
  3. Eva S Schernhammer1,3
  1. 1Department of Epidemiology, Center of Public Health, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria
  2. 2ISGlobal, Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology (CREAL), Barcelona, Spain
  3. 3Channing Division of Network Medicine, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Kyriaki Papantoniou, Department of Epidemiology, Center of Public Health, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna 1090, Austria; kyriaki.papantoniou{at}

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There is increasing evidence that shift work, an occupational exposure affecting about one-fourth of the working population, increases the risk of major chronic disease outcomes, such as cardiovascular disease and cancer.1–4 Currently, there is an open discussion on whether shift work should be included in national lists of occupational hazards for compensation purposes. Denmark was the first (and to date only) country to consider breast cancer an occupational disease in shift workers, and to compensate women with over 20 years of night work who developed breast cancer. Chronic disease risk reduction and prevention in shift workers is an emerging field, which points to the need for more intervention studies. Whether and how companies or governments translate existing evidence into real-world policy or preventive actions currently remains largely unknown.

The study by Hall et al5 is a unique effort and first step to investigate the extent to which companies from across occupational sectors in the Canadian province of British Columbia implement programmes with potential health impact for their employees. In …

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  • Contributors KP produced the first draft of the invited commentary. ESS and CV revised and approved the final commentary submitted.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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