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Job Stress and Work Schedules in Relation to Nurse Obesity
The authors in the 2004 National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses, more than 40% of nurses who left nursing pointed out the reason for leaving their nursing jobs as scheduling or working too many hours. To restrict unhealthful scheduling and help nurse retention, state regulations related to total work hours or mandatory overtime may play an important role in improving nurse scheduling and retention.” The study results showed that 57 percent of nurses surveyed were obese.
The study, published in The Journal of Nursing Administration, is part of a series of investigations that show long work hours and shift-work affects the health of nurses that can also lead to poor outcomes for patients.
In an ongoing investigation, nursing researchers find obese nurses are more stressed and less active when they work long hours, compared to normal or underweight nurses. A recent study implicated shift work as a risk factor for obesity. In the study, Health Care professionals, and in particular nurses were found to be at high risk for metabolic disorders, leading researchers to suggest shift-work if an occupational health hazard from poor diet. The newest finding focuses on stress and inactivity as contributors to obesity among nurses.
Keith-Thomas Ayoob, associate professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, said nurses are just as susceptible to health problems as the rest of society.
“Before we were health professionals, we were real people. Just because we became health professionals doesn’t mean we stopped being members of regular society with all the problems that go along with it. It illustrates that knowledge alone isn’t always enough to produce behavioral changes.
Shift work was a serious factor in the obesity equation. It interrupts normal mealtimes and may also eliminate the possibility of eating healthy because of the need to rely on vending machine /prepackaged food. The night shift is obviously the most difficult to work because it impacts stamina and the ability to incorporate exercise and social interaction into daily routines. Oddly enough, very few studies of work-related obesity in nurses have incorporated work schedule variables.
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