Purpose: This narrative review examines the hypothesis that shift work contributes to the major public health problem of obesity and suggests ways in which weight gain might be prevented in those who must work at times outside of the conventional 8-hour daytime work period. Methods: A comprehensive literature review was performed using several relevant electronic databases and print journals. Results: Those who do shift work are at a greater risk for weight gain than those who work daytime hours. The exact mechanism by which this occurs is unknown, although eating and exercise habits as well as the disruption in circadian rhythm appear to contribute. Conclusions: It is imperative that clinicians be aware of the relationship of shift work to obesity and of interventions that can help prevent obesity in those who must work during unconventional hours.




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