Study: 55% of Nurses Are Overweight or Obese


Posted to Nursing, Nursing News

Image courtesy of -Paul H- via Flickr

Job stress and long, irregular hours are two of the reasons that 55% of all nurses are obese, according to a study at the University of Maryland School of Nursing.

Over two thousand nurses were surveyed in the study.

An article on quotes medical professionals who say that nurses are just as susceptible to health problems as the rest of society, and that “Nurses need to understand the importance of taking care of themselves before patients or their families.”

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 enough time to consume it.

For instance, Han recommends on-site farmer’s markets to serve health care workers who work nonstandard hours, healthier vending machine choices or having food delivered to the work unit.

“There’s an awful lot conspiring against weight control in nurses. The solutions are … giving the nurses the knowledge and skills they need to manage their weight, and environmental reforms, like having opportunities for physical activity breaks in hospitals, and having nutritious food options readily available 24 hours a day,” Katz said.

“Nurses, who dedicate themselves to helping others,” said Katz, “deserve that support from us.”