WEDNESDAY, Jan. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Nurses who work long
hours and have less physically demanding jobs are much more likely
to be obese than other nurses, according to a new study.
Researchers from the University of Maryland School of Nursing
surveyed about 2,100 female nurses and found that about 55 percent
of them were obese. They determined that nursing schedules affect
nurses' health and also the quality of patient care.
"Long work hours and shift work adversely affect quantity and quality of sleep, which often interferes with adherence to healthy behavior and increases obesity," said the study's lead researcher, Kihye Han, a postdoctoral fellow at the nursing school, in a university news release.
Han said the findings -- published recently in the
Journal of Nursing Administration -- support the need to
change the common 12-hour nursing shift. The researchers added that
hospitals and other health care facilities should offer educational
programs on how to adapt to work schedules, deal with sleep
deprivation and reduce fatigue.
"Considering that more than half of nurses are overweight or obese, increasing availability of healthy food and providing sufficient time to consume it may reduce the risk of obesity and future health problems," Han noted.
In a previous study, the researchers found that in terms of
nursing schedules, working long shifts and having too little time
off were most often related to the death of patients. A separate
study also suggested the 12-hour nursing shift can lead to sleep
deprivation, health problems and increased risk for errors in
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