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EPMA J. 2010 Dec;1(4):611-8. doi: 10.1007/s13167-010-0057-7. Epub 2010 Dec 8.

Health promotion and work: prevention of shift work disorders in companies.

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Clinic for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Prof. Ernst-Nathan Str.1, 90419 Nuernberg, Germany.


Workplace health promotion is a strategy to improve the health and well-being of people at work. The measures aim at the personal, organisational and work environment. Shift work is one of many reasons provoking increased job stress. According to worldwide epidemiological data, up to 30% of the working population are employed in shifts. Taking into consideration that shift work causes a large number of somatic and psychiatric diseases which bear considerable negative consequences for the health status and the quality of life, it seems to be important to initiate health promotion strategies for shift workers in the companies. The results of recent studies indicate that well-scheduled und targeted health programmes can change the lifestyle of shift working employees and have an impact on the risk factors involved. One problem, though, is a considerable time lag till effects become apparent; therefore, the long-term economic effects of workplace health promotion have not been evaluated sufficiently to date. These definitely positive effects highlight the demand for trainings and workshops for people in shift work. We urgently suggest a speedy implementation of the recommended strategies by companies with shift work systems. In our view, this poses a challenge to the "infant" interdisciplinary field of sleep medicine that should be solved.

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