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Shift work and obesity

Zomerman, WW (2010) Shift work and obesity. Bachelor's Thesis, Biology.

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The demand for working round the clock is increasing, in industry and in healthcare (ref). Shift work has been associated with several health problems, including obesity, diabetes and cardio vascular diseases (ref). A possible explanation of health problems related to digestion could be a shift in the eating patterns of shift workers, whereas gastrointestinal processes are still controlled by circadian pacemakers.. Our first goal of this thesis was to investigate causes of the higher prevalence of obesity in shift workers. Changed levels in glucose and lipid metabolism during the nightshift might be of importance in relation to obesity. Secondly, we wanted to look whether a conflict between direct demand of energy and a normal peak of lipolysis during the night could play a role in a higher prevalence of obesitas in shift workers . But an initial (meta)analysis to answer the first question gave rise to doubt whether there is a clear correlation between shift work and the higher prevalence of obesity. In conclusion, this meta-study gave support to the hypothesis that shift workers have a higher prevalence of inhibiting obesity, but more detailed data are needed. A higher prevalence of obesity in shift workers can be due to physical inactivity outside working hours and/or the increased consumption of high-fat snacks. Both the inactivity and increased fat intake will lead to increased circulating TAG-levels, which is a marker of obesity and metabolic syndrome. Circadian rhythms in insulin insensitivity in combination with increased blood concentrations of not esterified fatty acids (NEFA’s) during night shifts, can lead to a competition between blood glucose and circulating NEFA in uptake by tissues. Excessive NEFA’s will outcompete blood glucose. In itself, this will not lead to an increased susceptibility of inhibiting obesity or metabolic syndrome, since excessive NEFA’s are not a predictor of metabolic syndrome. However, it will result in an even higher insulin insensitivity during the night. Higher insulin insensitivity is a marker of metabolic syndrome. Future research should focus on how to change the higher insulin insensitivity during the night. Furthermore, shift workers should adjust their strategies to cope with the shift of their behavioral rhythm, by adjusting the timing of meals, meal content and type of light exposure during the night.

Item Type: Thesis (Bachelor's Thesis)
Degree programme: Biology
Thesis type: Bachelor's Thesis
Language: English
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2018 07:45
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2018 07:45

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