Shift work, and particularly permanent night shifts, promote dyslipidaemia: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Frédéric Dutheil*, Julien Baker, Martial Mermillod, Mélanie De Cesare, Alexia Vidal, Fares Moustafa, Bruno Pereira, Valentin Navel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


Background and aims: Shift work is common worldwide and linked to deleterious cardiovascular effects that might be underlined by dyslipidemia. The aim of this systematic review and meta-analysis is to determine the impact of shiftwork on dyslipidemia. Methods: Searching in PubMed, Cochrane Library, Science Direct and Embase databases without language restriction on 15 February 2020, included studies that describe blood lipids levels or a risk measure in shift workers compared with fixed-day workers (controls). Differences by study-level characteristics were estimated using stratified meta-analysis by type of shift work, and meta-regression to examine relations between dyslipidemia and demographic, lifestyle and work characteristics. Estimates were pooled using random-effect meta-analysis. Results: We included a total of 66 articles, representing 197,063 workers. Shift work globally increased the levels of triglycerides (overall SMD = 0.09; 95CI 0.05 to 0.13; p < 0.001), and globally decreased the levels of c-HDL (−0.08; 95CI −0.12 to −0.03; p = 0.001). Permanent night shift workers were an at-risk type of shift for dyslipidemia with significantly higher blood levels of total cholesterol (0.22; 95CI 0.01 to 0.42; p = 0.043) and triglycerides (0.18; 0.03 to 0.33; p = 0.017), and significantly lower blood levels of c-HDL (−0.16; 95CI −0.32 to 0.00; p = 0.05). Permanent night shift workers were more at-risk for total cholesterol than rotating 3 × 8 shift workers (Coefficient 0.22; 95CI 0.01 to 0.42; p = 0.038) and rotating 2 × 12 shift workers (0.24; 0.02 to 0.46; p = 0.037), and more at-risk for triglycerides than rotating day shift workers (0.21; 95CI 0.03 to 0.38; p = 0.023). Results were non-significant for c-LDL, nor depending on type of shifts. Conclusions: Shift work, and particularly permanent night shift, is associated with dyslipidaemia via elevated total cholesterol and triglycerides, and reduced HDL-cholesterol. Our current study provides a practical and valuable strengthening of the evidence-base required for preventive health initiatives and workplace reform.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)156-169
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

User-Defined Keywords

  • Blood lipids level
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Cholesterol
  • Dyslipidemia
  • Metabolic disease
  • Night shift
  • Preventive medicine
  • Shift work
  • Work conditions


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