March 20, 2023

Study: Frailty in women linked to working rotating shifts

Editor's Note

This Canadian study finds an association between shift work and frailty among middle-aged and older workers, especially for women on rotating shifts.

The researchers looked at 52 factors that can likely lower lifespan. Mildly frail individuals have at least 5 factors, and very frail individuals have at least 11 factors.

Of 47,740 individuals, aged 45 to 85 years, analyzed, 1 in 5 were involved in shift work.

Those who had a history of shift work had a higher likelihood of frailty, compared with those who only worked daytime hours—more than 25% of shift workers were mildly frail, and 7% were very frail.

Women who rotated shifts were especially likely to be considered frail, with more than 31% classified as mildly frail and nearly 11% as very frail.

The findings suggest that circadian disruption may play an important role in frailty, the researchers say.

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