(BALTIMORE) — Researchers at the University of Maryland’s School of Nursing found that 55 percent of the 2,103 female nurses they surveyed were obese, citing job stress and the effect on sleep of long, irregular work hours as the cause.
The study, which measured obesity using estimates of body mass index, found that nursing schedules affected not only the health of the nurses but the quality of patient care.
To combat the high obesity rate among nurses, Kihye Han, the author of the study, proposed more education on good sleep habits, and better strategies for adapting work schedules. She also called for napping at work to curb sleep deprivation, reduce fatigue and increase energy.
The 2004 National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses found that more than 40 percent of nurses who left nursing said they did so because of irregular and long hours, indicating that better scheduling could help nurse retention.
Han also proposed increasing making healthy food more available, and allowing nurses enough time to consume it.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio