Shift workers’ perceptions and experiences of adhering to a nutrition intervention at night whilst working: a qualitative study

Catherine E. Huggins, Jessica Jong, Gloria K.W. Leung, Sophie Page, Rochelle Davis, Maxine P. Bonham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


This study explored the feasibility of implementing a meal timing intervention during night shift work. Data were collected via semi-structured interviews. Interviews were coded inductively by two researchers independently, then three major themes were collaboratively developed. Subthemes from each major theme were mapped to the theoretical domains framework and the Capability Opportunity Motivation model of behaviour change. Seventeen night shift workers (rotating or permanent) aged between 25 and 65 years were interviewed. Participants predominately worked as health professionals. The feasibility of a simple meal timing intervention to avoid eating between 1 and 6 am on night shift is largely affected by three major influences (1) physical and emotional burden of shift work which drives food temptations; (2) the workplace context including the meal break environment, social and cultural context at work, and break scheduling; and (3) motivation of the individual. Facilitators to avoiding eating at night were, keeping busy, having co-worker support, management support, education of health benefits and/or belief that the intervention was health promoting. The barriers to avoiding eating at night were the emotional and physical toll of working at night leading to comfort eating and not having rest areas away from food environments. To support night shift workers with changing timing of meals, interventions at work should target both individual and organisational level behaviour change.

Original languageEnglish
Article number15487
Number of pages10
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

Cite this