Sunday, November 22, 2009

Night Shift is a Health Risk for Cops

The following article appeared in today's Orlando Sentinel. Anyone who has had to work overnight shifts will relate to this:

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Health risk for cops: Night beat

By Jeannine Stein, Tribune Newspapers

Midnight shift workers often find it hard to get enough quality sleep on a consistent basis. Police officers are not exempt, often working late shifts and overtime as part of their jobs.

A new study suggests that their schedule may cause cops to develop metabolic syndrome, a cluster of symptoms including high blood pressure, insulin resistance and high triglycerides that advance development of such conditions as stroke, cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes.

The research, published in the current issue of Archives of Environmental & Occupational Health, focused on 98 police officers who were part of the Buffalo Cardio-Metabolic Occupational Police Stress study, which began in 2003. The participants had their blood pressure checked, took a blood test and had their waist circumference measured. They also filled out a questionnaire focusing on lifestyle choices such as sleep habits, physical activity, smoking and alcohol use.

Researchers discovered that in general, those on afternoon and midnight shifts were younger than those working during the day, and predominantly male. Overall, 30 percent of the police officers on the night shift had metabolic syndrome. In the general population, that number was 21 percent, taken from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The younger officers on the night shift (average age 36.5 years) also had higher rates of metabolic syndrome than their age group in the general population.

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For those of us who have worked these shifts, such information really comes as no surprise.

Charles M. Grist

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