More than 70 percent of those calories came from foods that were free.
ATLANTA – It is no secret that cupcakes in the rest room provide little nutrition. But a new report reveals that many Americans may be eating too much.
Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently conducted a study, presented at a meeting of the American Nutrition Society, to determine how many unhealthy foods employees eat while on the job.
To do so, they used data from the US Department of Agriculture's Food Acquisition and Acquisition Survey. UU., A national questionnaire on purchases and purchases of food during a period of seven days. The team specifically evaluated food and beverages purchased at work in vending machines or cafeterias or items that were hooked for free in common areas, meetings or social events in the workplace.
After analyzing the results, they found that almost a quarter of the participants received food from work at least once a week with an average of almost 1,300 calories. More than 70 percent of those calories come from free foods.
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In addition, the foods were not only high in calories, they also contained added sugars and high amounts of sodium. They also included very few whole grains and fruit.
"As far as we know, this is the first national study that analyzes the food that people get at work," said co-author Stephen Onufrak in a statement. "Our results suggest that the foods that people get from work do not align well with the recommendations of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans."
Researchers are encouraging employers to implement wellness programs in the workplace to promote healthier eating. They also believe that food in cafeterias or vending machines must follow the proper guidelines for food service.
"Since we discovered that many of the foods obtained by employees were free," Onufrak, "employers can also consider healthy meeting policies to encourage healthy food choices at meetings and social events."
Scientists now they hope to continue their research to explore foods specifically purchased in vending machines and coffee shops at work.
"Wellness programs in the workplace have the potential to reach millions of working Americans and have been shown to be effective in changing health behaviors among employees, reducing employee absenteeism and reducing employee health care costs, "Onufrak said. "We hope the results of our research will help increase healthy food choices in the workplace in the United States."
Rachel Lustgarten, a registered dietitian at Weill Cornell Medicine, said that people who spend more and more time at work tend to reach for foods that are more accessible to them. But, in general, snacks stored in refrigerators, pantries or communal vending machines have little nutritional value. In fact, said Lustgarten, they are highly processed foods high in fat, sugar and sodium.
Although these foods and beverages may seem like a quick fix by 3 p.m. Fall, Lustgarten said that unhealthy options mixed with sedentary desktop jobs can lead to adverse health conditions, such as unwanted weight gain.