Stressed-out employees prone to skipping lunch, poor eating habits

For many workers, taking a break in the middle of the day to eat a healthy lunch is a great way to relieve the stress of the morning and prepare for the tasks and problems of the afternoon.

While many managers realize this and encourage breaks, employees who experience high levels of workplace stress appear to be skipping lunch, according to a study conducted by UK insurance group Aviva.

“It’s well-documented that eating more healthily can improve general well-being and life expectancy, so there are countless benefits to adopting this approach in the workplace,” said Doug Wright, head of clinical development at Aviva.

About one third of workers said that they routinely skip a midday break, and 25 percent said they will only leave the office for food if their workload allows it. Some 13 percent of survey respondents said they avoid eating at work altogether.

The survey also revealed that about 43 percent of employers encourage healthy lunches, but a total of 39 percent of organizations that offer food don’t include nutritious items.

Employee wellness programs that provide tools and resources for stress management may help workers relax enough to realize that their bodies and brains need fuel to function properly.

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