Zhuang Li Lim


 Background: Physically sedentary nurses appear less credible in inculcating healthy behaviour among patients. Shift-work promotes physical inactivity, whilst physical inactivity correlates with a high body mass index.


Objectives: We aim to determine the level of physical activity among hospital nurses of different work schedules, i.e. shift-work and day-work; and explore the association between nurses’ demographics, body mass index, and work schedule to their physical activity level.


Methods: A cross-sectional study design was employed. The self-administered Malaysian International Physical Activity Questionnaire – Long form (IPAQ-L) and a demographic survey sheet were provided to the eligible nurses. 


Setting and Participants: A total of 1988 nurses from a tertiary hospital in Kuala Lumpur were invited to participate.


Results: There were 1504 (76%) returned responses, with 77% of nurses working shift. Based on the IPAQ-L, 87% of nurses were deemed highly active, while 11% were moderately active. Upon stratifying into shift-work and day-work, statistically significant differences were observed between the groups in the domains of ‘work’ (p = 0.016), ‘domestic chores’ (p = 0.038), and in intensity-specific ‘walking’ (p = 0.046) and ‘vigorous’ activities (p = 0.034). Regression analysis showed significant difference for ‘duration of daily vehicle travel’, with the day-workers reporting a longer adjusted travel time (76.50 minutes/day, p < 0.001). 


Conclusion: Working shift does not harm individual nurse’s overall measured physical activity, evidenced by equivalent high values of physical activity engagement between both work schedules. Differences within domains and intensities of physical activities may be attributed to the respective cohort characteristics.


day-work; nurses; physical activity; shift-work.


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