This Science News Wire page contains a press release issued by an organization and is provided to you "as is" with little or no review from Phys.org staff.

Shifting weight in shift workers

weight gain
Credit: CC0 Public Domain
If you're one of Australia's 1.4 million shift workers, you'll know that managing irregular hours can be hard, disrupting normal eating and sleeping patterns, and reducing the opportunity for regular exercise.

But did you know that this lifestyle puts you at greater risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes than regular day workers?

The harsh reality of shift work and weight gain is the subject of a world-first study being undertaken by researchers from the University of South Australia and Monash University and will explore novel weight loss regimes in night shift workers.

Researchers are aiming to recruit 420 shift workers in Adelaide and Melbourne who are interested in losing weight and wish to be a part of the study.

The SWIFt Study (Shifting Weight in shift workers) is funded under a $1.43 million grant by the NHMRC and will compare three diet strategies to help with weight loss and improve overall health.

UniSA researcher, Dr. Crystal Yates says the nature of working at night makes it harder for people to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle.

"Night shift workers not only work irregular hours but have the added challenges of irregular sleeping and eating patterns, making traditional weight loss plans hard to follow, Dr. Yates says.

"Our research shows that when a person routinely eats at irregular hours, they're more likely to gain weight. Plus, we know that shift workers often snack on high energy, sugary foods at night, which can increase their chance of weight gain.

"This study will help us learn more about how to manage weight among night shift workers.

"It's an important step for this group of people who experience unique challenges, and we hope our findings can be used to guide night shift workers to aid in better health for the future."

Provided by University of South Australia