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Does Maintaining or Changing Shift Types Affect BMI? A Longitudinal Study

Zhao, Isabella RN, BN, BN(Hons I); Bogossian, Fiona RN, DipAppSci, BAppSci, MPH, PhD, MACMI; Turner, Catherine RN, BA, Grad Dip Ed, MN, PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: May 2012 - Volume 54 - Issue 5 - p 525–531
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e31824e1073
Original Articles

Objectives: To examine the impact of maintaining or changing shift work status on body mass index (BMI) among female nurses and midwives.

Methods: A longitudinal study. Measurements included day work maintainers, shift work maintainers, day to shift changers and shift to day changers, changes in BMI, and potential confounders selected from baseline survey. Repeated measures analysis of covariance was employed.

Results: The shift to day changers had decreased in BMI over the follow-up period (mean, −3.02; SD, 5.45; P < 0.001). In contrast, the shift work maintainers and the day to shift changers had increased in BMI over follow-up period (mean, 0.56; SD, 5.47; P = 0.01 and mean, 0.13; SD, 5.64; P = 0.04, respectively).

Conclusions: The analysis suggests that shift work could increase BMI.

From the University of Queensland, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

Address correspondence to: Isabella Zhao, RN, BN, BN (Hons I), School of Nursing and Midwifery, The University of Queensland, Level 2, Edith Cavell Building, Fourth Avenue, UQ Herston Campus, Herston, QLD 4029, Australia (

This project is supported by grants from the Australian Research Council (LP0562102, SR0566924), Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (2005002108), and New Zealand Health Research Council (456163). Industry Partners providing additional funding include Queensland Health, the South Australian Department of Health, Injury Prevention and Control Australia (Pty. Ltd.), Nursing Council of New Zealand, and the Macquarie Bank Foundation. Industry partners providing in-kind support for the project include Queensland Nursing Council, Nurses and Midwives Board of New South Wales, Nurses Board of Tasmania, Nurses Board of Western Australia, Nurses Board of the Australian Capital Territory, and the Nursing Council of New Zealand. Corporate sponsors include Virgin Blue, Virgin Atlantic, and MessageNet.

Author Zhao and coauthors have no relationships/conditions/circumstances that present potential conflict of interest.

The JOEM Editorial Board and planners have no financial interest related to this research.

Copyright © 2012 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine