Introduction and aim Shift work is increasing nowadays. More than fifth employees are shift workers in industrialised countries. The body’s biological cycles circadian rhythms that recur at 24 hour intervals is disturbed. This includes sleep-wake patterns, body temperatures and hormone levels. Feeding behaviour, lipid and carbohydrate metabolism and blood pressure are also subjected to daily variation. Studies have shown that rotating shift work has high propensity to metabolic and nutritional disorders and may be directly responsible for increased obesity, higher blood pressure levels, altered nutritional metabolism, insulin resistance, diabetes, dyslipidemias, gastrointestinal disorders and metabolic syndrome. This work was aimed at clarifying the relation between rotating shift work and metabolic syndrome components for better health and well-being of rotating shift workers.
Methods A comparative study (ex- post facto design) was carried out in an Electricity Distribution Company in Ismailia city, Egypt. One hundred eligible shift workers and 100 non shift workers were chosen by systematic random method. The updated IDF criteria for diagnosing metabolic syndrome was used (International Diabetes Federation IDF, 2006). All participants were subjected to interview questionnaire, weight, height, waist circumference and blood pressure measurements, fasting blood sugar level, serum triglycerides and HDL levels.
Results According to IDF criteria, 53% of shift workers had metabolic syndrome compared to 39% of day workers (p=0.04) with odds ratio 1.8. The mean number of components affecting shift workers was higher than day workers (2.7±1.3 versus 2.2±1.4 respectively; p=0.00). Regarding each component; central obesity, blood pressure and blood sugar were significantly higher among shift workers compared to day workers. Triglycerides and HDL didn’t differ significantly between the 2 groups. Shift workers were also suffering more from sleep disorders (insomnia, snoring or obstructive sleep apnea) compared to day workers (55% versus 39% respectively; p=0.02). Using a dietary assessment score, unhealthy dietary habits were significantly more compared to day workers (6.7±7.2 versus 4.4±5.9 respectively; p=0.01).
Conclusion Metabolic syndrome are higher among shift workers compared to day workers. Also some components of metabolic syndrome as central obesity, blood pressure and blood sugar affect shift workers more than day workers.
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