Shift Work and Obesity Risk—Are There Sex Differences?

Kevin L. Smith, Alexandria B. Danyluk, Sanah S. Munir, Naima Covassin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Purpose of review: Shift work is prevalent among the working population and is linked to an array of adverse health outcomes. This review summarizes current evidence on the relation between shift work and risk of obesity, with a particular emphasis on potential sex differences. Recent findings: Observational data strongly point towards an association between shift work and heightened risk of prevalent and incident obesity, and particularly abdominal obesity. Circadian misalignment and unhealthy lifestyle behaviors are the primary culprits mediating such association. As it pertains to sex differences in the impact of shift work on obesity, few studies have examined this aspect, and findings are conflicting. Summary: Shift work is an important risk factor for obesity, with likely multiple biological and behavioral mediators. However, whether there is a sex-dependent vulnerability to the obesogenic effects of shift work is unclear. This area presents opportunities for future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)341-352
Number of pages12
JournalCurrent diabetes reports
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2022


  • Circadian misalignment
  • Obesity
  • Sex differences
  • Shift work
  • Weight gain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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