Overweight? Blame your boss

All work and no play...makes Jane a dull (and overweight) girl.

At least that's what a new study linking overtime to weight gain seems to say.

A recent study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine has found that nurses who work long shifts, overtime or other adverse work schedules could be at greater risk of obesity.

The study, conducted by Alison M. Trinkoff, ScD, RN, and colleagues of University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, examined data on more than 1,700 female nurses.

The researchers found that obese nurses with adverse work schedules got less exercise, less sleep, less restful sleep and were more likely to care for children or dependents.

Dr. Trinkoff said: "Adverse work schedules may be an overriding work-related factor for nurse obesity."

Trinkoff continued, "These nurses may need extra support to prevent obesity and its adverse health effects. In particular, for nurses with unfavorable work schedules, organizations should support improving schedules and promote the ability to practice healthy behaviors."

But as Dr. Michael Breus points out at the Huffington Post, there are several other studies that link long hours and adverse work conditions to obesity:

    This research project compared data from three groups of workers in three different nations and found that lack of physical activity, unhealthy behaviors such as smoking, and obesity itself were associated in different ways with adverse work conditions including job strain and working overtime

  • A study of Japanese mail workers found a possible link between job stress and overeating leading to obesity

  • A three-year study of white-collar workers found an association between body-mass index and waist size and overtime work
Breus comments, "We all have different work demands, different schedules, and different challenges related to our jobs. One thing we have in common? To the extent that our work conditions are interfering with our sleep, they may also be negatively affecting our weight."

Can your job really make you fat? Do you feel like your work hours and job strain contribute to someone being overweight?