The health of nurses has always been an important point of discussion amidst doctors and health care practitioners. Unleashing another distinct aspect of nursing, scientists from the University of Maryland have revealed that the stress and shift workload reported by many nurses could be related to obesity.

As part of the study, 2,103 female nurses were surveyed. It came to light that those working for long hours were likelier to be obese relative to normal weight or underweight counterparts. Moreover, overweight nurses reportedly performed duties which required less physical exertion.

“Long work hours and shift work adversely affect quantity and quality of sleep, which often interferes with adherence to healthy behavior and increases obesity,” commented lead researcher Kihye Han, PhD, RN, postdoctoral fellow at the School.

Also, among the nurses, almost 55% of them were obese. Therefore the authors urge professionals to work towards avenues for providing nutritious food along with adequate time for consumption to help nurses combat obesity and other health complications.

Less time off the job and 12-hour nursing shifts came forward as contributors to the depreciating health of nurses. Long hours of work could result in sleep deprivation and also cause medical errors on the part of the nurses.

According to the team, educational interventions regarding sleep hygiene and better adaptation to job schedules ought to be provided by health care homes and hospitals. Notably, organizations in favor of small naps as part of the working environment may energize the nurses and help resist tiredness due to poor sleep, while on the job.

The study is published in the Journal of Nursing Administration.