This chapter looks at the health and lifestyle of shift workers compared with non-shift workers. It shows that shift workers are exposed to greater health risks, particularly when working patterns disrupt a person's internal clock.
- Shift working was defined as ‘working outside the hours of 7am to 7pm in your main job’.
- Around one third of men and one fifth of women reported that they did shift work.
- Shift working was most common in the 16-24 age group and least common among those aged over 55.
- The proportion of men and women in shift work was highest among those in the lowest income households.
- Both men and women in shift work were more likely than non-shift workers to report fair or bad health.
- Shift workers were more likely than non-shift workers to have a limiting longstanding illness; they were also more likely to have more than one longstanding illness.
- Shift workers were more likely than non-shift workers to be obese.
- Men and women in shift work were more likely than non-shift workers to have diabetes. 10% of men and women in shift work had diabetes, compared with 9% and 7% of men and women not in shift work.
Cigarette smoking was higher among shift workers than non-shift workers, with a larger difference among women than men. 26% of women in shift work smoked compared with 15% of women who did not do shift work.
The proportion of men and women who drank alcohol in the last year was slightly smaller among shift workers.
Daily fruit and vegetable consumption was lower among shift workers than non-shift workers. Shift workers were also slightly less likely than non-shift workers to meet government recommendations of eating five or more portions per day.