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Development and evaluation of nutritional strategies to reduce and prevent obesity in shift workers

Project description

How to prevent obesity in shift workers

Shift work is a significant risk factor for developing obesity, and this type of work is common in various sectors across Europe. The prevalence of obesity and related health issues has become a burden on national healthcare systems. While shift workers are known to make unhealthy food choices, the exact cause of changes in their eating habits is unclear. The EU-funded SHIFT2HEALTH project will identify the factors contributing to obesity in shift workers. Based on lifestyle and environmental influences, it will develop products and strategies that promote healthy eating habits while considering the behavioural and relational aspects. SHIFT2HEALTH will target the healthcare (predominantly female workers) and industrial (primarily male workers) sectors.


Shift work is an independent risk factor for the development of overweight and obesity. As shift workers represent a huge target group throughout many sectors in Europe obesity and associated diseases stress national health systems. Unhealthy food choices (snacking, high sugar intake, preferences for spicy and sweet-fatty foods) were reported for this group, which are likely the main causes for becoming obese. The underlying mechanisms for these changed eating patterns remain to be resolved. Potential explanations are alterations in metabolic health conditions (e.g. microbiome and inflammation), taste perception and circadian misalignment. Empirically proven solutions are urgently needed to benefit national health systems and reduce the development of obesity and increase the wellbeing of shift workers in the EU.
This project aims to identify mechanisms and environmental and lifestyle factors leading to obesity in shift workers and to develop and evaluate products and strategies with consideration of the behavioural and relational level to support healthy eating patterns. The project will focus on both healthcare (female dominated) and industrial workers (male dominated), two major sectors where working in shifts is common. We will combine existing and new knowledge on nutritional, behavioural, perceptual and physiological determinants of (un)healthy food choices in a cross-section trial and consider personal needs and wishes. Based on the latter results, promising strategies, technical solutions and products will be developed and tested within the target group in specific interventions. During all steps, stakeholders (health work organisations, shift workers` representatives, companies, policy makers and scientists) will be involved.
With the results, new insights in the nutrition-related mechanisms involved in the development of obesity among shift workers will be identified and tailored strategies benefitting shift workers and employers will be developed.


Net EU contribution
€ 1 470 015,00
1010 Wien

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Ostösterreich Wien Wien
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 1 470 015,00

Participants (14)