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Ind Health. 2019 Aug 3;57(4):547-553. doi: 10.2486/indhealth.2018-0070. Epub 2018 Oct 19.

Timing of Australian flight attendant food and beverage while crewing: a preliminary investigation.

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Behaviour-Brain-Body Research Centre School of Psychology, Social Work and Social Policy, University of South Australia, Australia.


Flight attendants experience circadian misalignment and disrupted sleep and eating patterns. This survey study examined working time, sleep, and eating frequency in a sample (n=21, 4 males, 17 females) of Australian flight attendants (mean age=41.8 yr, SD=12.0 yr, mean BMI=23.8 kg/m2, SD=4.1 kg/m2). Respondents indicated frequencies of snack, meal, and caffeine consumption during their last shift. Reported sleep duration on workdays (mean=4.6 h, SD=1.9 h) was significantly lower than on days off (M=7.2 h, SD=1.2 h, p<0.001), and significantly lower than perceived sleep need (M=8.1 h, SD=0.8 h, p<0.001). Food intake was distributed throughout shifts and across the 24 h period, with eating patterns incongruent with biological eating periods. Time available, food available, and work breaks were the most endorsed reasons for food consumption. Caffeine use and reports of gastrointestinal disturbance were common. Working time disrupts sleep and temporal eating patterns in flight attendants and further research into nutritional and dietary-related countermeasures may be beneficial to improving worker health and reducing circadian disruption.


Circadian disruption; Eating patterns; Flight attendants; Health; Meal timing; Shift work; Sleep; Work environments

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