Workplace stress may lead to obesity

In a study conducted by researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center, it was found that employees who were under heavy stress at work were more likely to have poor diet and exercise habits, especially when their company was experiencing lay-offs.

The researchers studied the health data and habits of more than 2,700 workers at an upstate New York manufacturing facility. They discovered that about 75 percent of the employees were either overweight or obese, and approximately 65 percent reported watching two or more hours of television per day.

Additionally, the study authors noted that salty, sugary and fatty snacks disappeared from vending machines quickly when rumors of lay-offs began to swirl.

Authors of the study suggested that employee wellness programs should include resources on healthy diet and exercise habits, and also address the root causes of stress in the workplace.

The researchers plan to do a follow-up study of this workplace since the company has recently implemented wellness programs that address physical health and include workshops on managing workplace stress.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that a lack of job security and opportunity for promotion as well as a volatile work environment and heavy workload contribute greatly to workplace stress.

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