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This study aims to quantitatively summarize the association between night shift work and the risk of metabolic syndrome (MetS), with special reference to the dose-response relationship with years of night shift work. We systematically searched all observational studies published in English on PubMed and Embase from 1971 to 2013. We extracted effect measures (relative risk, RR; or odd ratio, OR) with 95% confidence interval (CI) from individual studies to generate pooled results using meta-analysis approach. Pooled RR was calculated using random- or fixed-effect model. Downs and Black scale was applied to assess the methodological quality of included studies. A total of 13 studies were included. The pooled RR for the association between 'ever exposed to night shift work' and MetS risk was 1.57 (95% CI = 1.24-1.98, pheterogeneity  = 0.001), while a higher risk was indicated in workers with longer exposure to night shifts (RR = 1.77, 95% CI = 1.32-2.36, pheterogeneity  = 0.936). Further stratification analysis demonstrated a higher pooled effect of 1.84 (95% CI = 1.45-2.34) for studies using the NCEP-ATPIII criteria, among female workers (RR = 1.61, 95% CI = 1.10-2.34) and the countries other than Asia (RR = 1.65, 95% CI = 1.39-1.95). Sensitivity analysis confirmed the robustness of the results. No evidence of publication bias was detected. The present meta-analysis suggested that night shift work is significantly associated with the risk of MetS, and a positive dose-response relationship with duration of exposure was indicated.

Original publication




Journal article


Obes Rev

Publication Date





709 - 720


Metabolic syndrome, night work, shift work, Humans, Metabolic Syndrome, Occupational Diseases, Odds Ratio, Risk Factors, Work, Work Schedule Tolerance