Many of us eat on the job, but we might not be making the best choices to fuel our bodies, according to a recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The CDC has determined that the food American workers typically consume on the job general doesn’t meet dietary guidelines. This means, according to the study, people are gaining weight because of the food they eat at work.
The study, presented by Dr. Stephen Onufrak from the CDC, was based on a survey of over 5,000 employees working in America. The USDA Food Acquisition and Purchasing Survey (FoodAPS) compiled the data over a seven-day period. It assessed how often employees eat food from work (either free or purchased) according to demographic categories, the number of times employees acquired food from work, the most common foods people eat at work and the dietary qualities of those foods.
“Lunch at work is just like any other meal,” Financial Education Benefits Center (FEBC) Manager Jennifer Martinez explained. “So just like any other meal, a person has options. Everything you choose to eat represents a bunch of things you chose not to eat. What’s tough is that people are obviously responsible for their own choices, but also that those choices can be shaped by the environment. If fatty foods are around, people are going to eat more than if they weren’t.”
Often, employers contribute to the nutritional missteps of its employees. According to the survey, 22 percent of the workers got food or drink at work with the average calorie intake of nearly 1,300 calories a week per person. Of those workers, 45 percent had three or more food or drink items during the week. The most common foods obtained by these workers included foods with high levels of fat, added sugar and sodium. The most common foods and drinks consumed at work, the study concluded, are pizza, soda, cookies or brownies, cakes or pies and candy.
“What this shows me is not just that people are sometimes eating poorly at work, but that employers have room for improvement. Offering better nutritional choices could be a recruiting tool or could help keep employees healthy,” Martinez commented.