The association between night shift work and nutrition patterns among nurses: a literature review

B Peplonska et al, 2019.
Medycyna Pracy, published online.
May 20, 2019


The shift work system may affect the temporal distribution of eating and diet quality. The paper aimed at reviewing a body of research examining the associations between night shift work and dietary habits among nurses. Data from the PubMed and Google Schoolar databases, as well as references lists in selected papers were searched. The authors used the following keywords: nurses, shift work, diet, nutrition. Papers published in English or Polish were selected for the review, and as many as 19 papers published in 2000−2017 were eventually identified. The studies varied greatly with respect to the study size, subjects’ age and the duration of night shift work. The major problem was the heterogeneity of the tools used for dietary assessment. Self-administered questionnaires were used and analyses were rarely adjusted for confounders. Alcohol consumption was the most frequently analyzed aspect (N = 8 studies), followed by the total energy (N = 7), protein, fat (N = 6), and carbohydrate intake, coffee and fruit consumption (N = 5). The results showed quite a consistent association of night work with higher coffee (caffeine) consumption, as well as lower alcohol, and fruit and vegetables consumption. Few studies also reported more frequent snacks consumption, later time of the last meal, eating at night, meals irregularity, and a poorer diet quality among night shift nurses when compared to the reference. The review showed some poor nutritional habits among nurses working night shifts. However, the topic warrants further attention, owing to the relatively small number of the studies performed so far, and their numerous methodological limitations.


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