Pizza for a working lunch. Cake to celebrate a colleague’s birthday. Potato chips in the vending machine. Foods like these are all too prevalent in workplaces, according to a new study released.
For America to address its obesity epidemic, the researchers urge, food provided or purchased at work needs to improve to better align with dietary guidance.
More than 23 percent of the surveyed workers either bought or had free food at work, and it typically scored high in empty calories, sodium and refined grain, the study determined.
And Americans are piling on the pounds. Federal government data shows that almost 40 percent of adults were obese in 2015-2016, compared with 30.5 percent in 1999-2000.
Further, the annual medical cost of obesity — which means a person’s body mass index level surpassed a certain point — has been clocked at around $149 billion.
The new study is a different look at the weighty problem, acknowledging, “little is known about work-site food behaviors.” Some 150 million Americans spend most of their waking hours at work — and might be prone to stress eating.
The study also ranked the most commonly obtained food and drink on the job, whether workers paid for them or not. Coffee was by far and away first, consumed on 849 occasions during the experiment period. Regular soft drinks came in second, quaffed 511 times, and sandwiches were third-most consumed, eaten 317 times over the experiment period.