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Healthy Diet and Reduction of Chronic Disease Risks of Night Shift Workers

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Background: The large increase in epidemiological studies on night shift work is due to the important effects of night shift work on workers’ health and psychophysical wellbeing. The short-term effects—insomnia, difficulties in managing work and private life, lower work performance, and more work and extra-work accidents—are easily studied. However, there are several long-term effects that are difficult to study because of the need for detailed exposure assessment and the long latency periods of these diseases.

Objective: The aim was to collect epidemiologic evidence of diseases in night shift workers, describing their biological pathways and a set of dietary guidelines.

Methods: This is a review on diet and health effects in night shift workers.

Results: Significant increases in the rate ratios and hazard ratios of different diseases were associated with modified eating behaviours and poor eating habits among night shift workers. Night shift work is a risk factor for disruption of the circadian rhythms and for some genetic deregulation because it produces the inversion of the sleep/wake cycle and modifies the alternation between activity and rest.

Conclusion: A healthy diet and improved dietary practices, together with other factors, can reduce shift workers’ chronic disease risk. The literature showed the importance of eating behaviour in order to prevent diseases in these workers; therefore, educational programmes are necessary to encourage several important lifestyle changes. The target of our future research will be the role of food components in some dietetic habits for the prevention of disease in night shift workers.
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Keywords: Night shift work; chronic disease; dietary guidelines; eating behaviour; health effects; shift lag syndrome

Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: June 1, 2019

This article was made available online on September 11, 2017 as a Fast Track article with title: "Healthy Diet and Reduction of Chronic Disease Risks of Night Shift Workers".

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  • Current Medicinal Chemistry covers all the latest and outstanding developments in medicinal chemistry and rational drug design. Each issue contains a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of the current topics in medicinal chemistry. Current Medicinal Chemistry is an essential journal for every medicinal chemist who wishes to be kept informed and up-to-date with the latest and most important developments.
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