Sunday, 1 April 2012

Bored Women More Likely to Snack at Work

Anyone who’s ever worked in an office is no doubt familiar with the ready availability of snacks.

Whether it’s boxes of cream cakes to celebrate a birthday, an open packet of biscuits sitting on the edge of a desk or sticky treats brought back from holidays, there’s usually something to tempt even the most strong willed amongst us.

But if you're bored with your job, the chances of succumbing to the lure of the Hobnobs is much greater.

According to a survey conducted by researchers at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, women who are bored or burnt out are more likely to comfort eat or eat uncontrollably whilst at work.

The survey examined the eating habits of 230 women to investigate associations between occupational burnout, eating behaviour and weight among working women. Questions included whether they ate while feeling down, and whether they found it impossible to stop eating once they’d started, such as finishing an entire packet of biscuits.

Women were also asked about their level of occupational burnout, for example exhaustion, disturbed sleep, lack of interest in work, loss of self-esteem and feelings of inadequacy.

After analysing the results, researchers found that nearly 8 percent had mild burn out, 11.3 percent moderate burn out and 3 percent serious burn out. Those who were suffering from some degree of burnout, were more likely to succumb to comfort eating or uncontrolled eating. But surprisingly, they were less likely to be overweight.

However, this doesn’t mean their lifestyle is healthy. Lead researcher, Nina Nevanpera concluded:

Those experiencing burn out may be more vulnerable to uncontrolled eating and emotional eating and have a hindered ability to make changes to their eating behavior.”

In another survey, compiled by, it was found that the average female office worker consumes around one third of her daily calorie allowance on snacks. The survey polled 1,947 women in full-time employment in an office environment.

Results showed that 51 percent ate between 650 and 750 calories on snacks alone, with the most popular snack being chocolate, followed by fruit then crisps. The reason most gave for their snacking habits was due to boredom.

Of course there’s nothing wrong with eating snacks during the day. But if you’re worried about your weight or feel you should be eating healthier snacks, there are lots of ways to do this.

You could try Graze, who deliver a wide range of delicious, healthy, portion and calorie controlled snacks to your home or place of work. Use this code (9HZTPXFD) and you can try your first box for free.

Alternatively, you could try splitting up your breakfast and lunch into several smaller snacks so you’re not consuming snack calories on top of regular meal calories.

Snacking doesn’t have to mean weight gain. And if you’re on a diet and can’t resist the temptation of the office treats, why not suggest they put them in a special place, out of sight. If you don’t see them you’re less likely to want them!

Study: The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition


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