The impact of rotating shift work on eating patterns and self-reported health of nurses in Malawi
AbstractThe aim of this study was to assess the effect of rotating shift work on eating patterns and self-reported health of nurses. Twenty-four female nurses on irregular rotating shift work were randomly selected from among medical personnel at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH), Blantyre, Malawi. Controls were 22 nurses who did not perform night duties. Appetite, eating pattern satisfaction, regularity of meals, health perception; number of full meals and snacks were assessed using standardized and locally validated questionnaire. It was found that rotating shift work had significant effect on the amount of full meals (d.f. = 2, F = 24.3. P = 0.000), appetite (d.f. = 2, F = 15.2, P = 0.000) and eating pattern satisfaction (d.f. = 2, F = 22.5, P = 0.000). Comparison of the two groups of nurses indicated that volunteers in the study group had lower number of reported full meals per day (t = 6,37, P < 0.001), lower self-assessed appetite (t=3.22, P < 0.01) and eating pattern satisfaction (t = 6.52, P < 0.01) during the night-shift phase of the rotating shift cycle than nurses on the day- shift schedule. All responders in the study group and 40.9% of nurses in the control group reported irregular eating pattern. Significant association was found between the self-reported health scores and appetite (d.f, = J, F = 8.89, P = 0.000), amount of full meals (d.f. = 3, F = 11.77, P = 0.000) and eating habit satisfaction (d.f = 3, F = 18.J. P = 0.000) in both groups of nurses. Nurses who reported irregular eating pattern had significantly lower subjective health score (t = 3.33, P < 0.01) than nurses who consumed food regularly (2.9:1:1.2 and 1.8:1:0.9, respectively).
Malawi Medical Journal Vol.16(2) 2005: 37-39