Eating lunch at work is ‘making people fat’

Eating lunch at work is ‘making people fat’

Nearly 25 percent of study participants reported eating food from work at least once a week, and the average weekly calories obtained from these foods was around 1,300.

More than 20 percent of working Americans are getting food at work, the team at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found.

"The majority of the calories people got at work, people didn't pay for - 70 percent of the calories were free", said study co-author Stephen Onufrak, an epidemiologist at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The preliminary findings, which have not yet undergone the peer-review process, will be presented by Onufrak at Nutrition 2018, the annual meeting of the American Society for Nutrition.

The study authors suggested one solution to this problem: Employers should come forward to promote "worksite wellness" programs in order to encourage healthy eating at workplaces by including food options that follow federal recommendations in cafeterias and vending machines at the workplaces. On average, they consumed nearly 1,300 calories from workplace food on a weekly basis.

It's the first major study to look at office food - and the results aren't pretty.

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The results of the study of 5,222 employees across the U.S. suggest that workplaces can play an important role to help ensure access to and promote healthier food options. Researchers found that a quarter of these employees, most of whom were college graduates, women and non-Hispanic whites, did get food and beverages at work. The food people get at work also tend to have high amounts of sodium and refined grains. Researchers found that most of the free food offered were things that add up "empty" calories like, pizza, soft drinks, cookies, brownies, and other candies.

For many of us, it's really hard to pass up the sweet pastries at meetings, the tasty doughnuts in the break time, and a delicious birthday cake for a co-worker. The food came from a variety of sources like vending machines and cafeterias, but also events in and out of the office - some of which was free (leading it to be even more tempting).

Subjects in the study filled out surveys about what they ate at work over a seven-day period.

ABC reported a few of the researchers' suggestions, including promoting a salad bar over a pizza or burrito station in the employee cafeteria and replacing those cheese-flavored chips in the vending machines with sunflower seeds.

"Since we found that a lot of the foods obtained by employees were free, employers may also want to consider healthy meeting policies to encourage healthy food options at meetings and social events", he said.

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