Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 2020;46(5):533-541    pdf full text

https://doi.org/10.5271/sjweh.3899 | Published online: 11 May 2020, Issue date: 01 Sep 2020

The association of work stress and night work with nutrient intake – a prospective cohort study

by Hemiö K, Lindström J, Peltonen M, Härmä M, Viitasalo K, Puttonen S

Objectives In a prospective study among workers in an airline company, we explored whether change in work stress symptoms or night shifts was associated with nutrient intake.

Methods Participants in a workplace type 2 diabetes (T2D) prevention study completed a questionnaire on lifestyle, work stress symptoms, work schedule, and food intake at baseline and after 2.4-years follow-up (211 men and 155 women, 93% with increased risk for T2D). Multiple linear regression models with covariates were used to explore the associations between change in work stress symptoms or night shifts and change in nutrient intake during the follow-up.

Results Among men, an increase in stress and a decrease in perceived workability was associated with a higher proportion of energy (E%) from fat [β 0.6, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.07–1.11, β 1.3, 95% CI 0.57–2.05] and saturated fat (β 0.3, 95% CI 0.02–0.58, β 0.5, 95% CI 0.14–0.90), respectively. Furthermore, a decrease in workability was associated with lower vitamin C intake (β-9.2, 95% CI -16.56– -1.84) and an increase in sleepiness with higher E% from saturated fat (β 0.7, 95% CI 0.00–0.15). Among women, an increase in work-related fatigue was associated with higher alcohol intake (β 7.5, 95% CI 1.25–13.74) and an increase of night shifts was associated with higher E% from fat (β 0.24, 95% CI 0.00–0.47) and saturated fat (β 0.17, 95% CI 0.04–0.29).

Conclusions Work stress symptoms were associated with a reduction in diet quality especially among men. The possible impact of work stress symptoms on workers’ dietary habits should be acknowledged and the assessment of dietary habits should consequently be incorporated into occupational health examinations.

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