Nearly 70 per cent of Scottish nurses are overweight or obese, according to a study carried out by Edinburgh Napier University.
The figures were described as “worryingly high” and significantly more likely within the profession than among other healthcare workers.
The survey, which also included non-health related occupations, found 69.1% of nurses were overweight or obese compared to 51.3% of other healthcare professionals.
Around 68.5% of unqualified care staff were considered overweight or obese as were 68.9% of those in non-health related occupations.
The report said: "Prevalence of overweight and obesity among Scottish nurses is worryingly high, and significantly higher than those in other healthcare professionals and non-health related occupations.
"High prevalence of overweight and obesity potentially harms nurses' own health and hampers the effectiveness of nurses' health promotion role.
"Interventions are therefore urgently required to address overweight and obesity among the Scottish nursing workforce."
More than 13,000 participated in the study including 411 nurses, 320 other healthcare professionals, 685 unqualified care staff.
Lead author Dr Richard Kyle, a reader in the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Care, said: “The level of overweight and obese people working in nursing is quite startling.
“It also raises concerns about the impact work is having on nurses’ health. We need to make sure we take better care of our nurses, which might help them to stay within the workforce.”
Union leaders reacted to the report by calling on health boards to provide healthy food in canteens for staff on 12-hour or night shifts and to provide proper breaks so staff can eat proper meals.
Read "Prevalence of Overweight and obesity among nurses in Scotland: A cross-sectional study using the Scottish Health Survey"
Jack Mathieson, J.Mathieson@napier.ac.uk, 0131 455 6251