Metabolic disturbances in male workers with rotating three-shift work. Results of the WOLF study
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- Karlsson, B.H., Knutsson, A.K., Lindahl, B.O. et al. Int Arch Occup Environ Health (2003) 76: 424. doi:10.1007/s00420-003-0440-y
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The aim of the present study was to investigate the relationship between important metabolic risk factors for coronary heart disease (CHD) and type 2 diabetes in shift workers and day workers.
Cross-sectional data from a sub-population in the WOLF study consisting of 665 day workers and 659 three-shift workers in two plants were analysed.
A higher proportion of shift workers than day workers had high triglyceride levels (≥1.7 mmol/l), low levels of HDL-cholesterol (<0.9 mmol/l) and abdominal obesity (waist/hip ratio>0.9). The risk of low HDL-cholesterol was doubled in shift workers, (odds ratio (OR): 2.02, 95% confidence interval (95% CI): 1.24–3.28) after being adjusted for age, socio-economic factors, physical activity, current smoking, social support and job strain. High levels of triglycerides were also significantly associated with shift work (OR: 1.40, 95% CI: 1.08–1.83). The OR for abdominal obesity was 1.19, (95% CI: 0.92–1.56). The prevalence of hyperglycaemia (serum glucose ≥7.0 mmol/l) was similar in day and shift workers. No significant interaction was seen between shift work and abdominal obesity with regard to the associations with triglycerides and HDL-cholesterol.
We found a significant association between shift work and lipid disturbances (i.e. low HDL-cholesterol and high triglyceride levels). We did not find any association with hyperglycaemia.