Why overworked means overweight

Overworked and stressed employees are more likely to put on weight, according to a new study from academics in Finland.

The paper, Psychosocial Working Conditions and Weight Gain Among Employees, published by the University of Helsinki Department of Public Health, found that workers with bad working conditions or experiencing ‘burn out’ were more likely to eat unhealthily and not take exercise.

The study followed the progress of 7,000 women and 2,000 men, aged 40-60.

All participants were employees of the City of Helsinki. Over a year 25% of women and 19% of men reported they had gained weight.

Weight gain was more common among those who reported feeling “totally worn out after a day at work”, “tired in the morning when they have to get up and go to work”, and those who worried about their work even when they were off duty.

Among women, those who said they struggled to combine paid work with family life were more likely to gain weight.

For men, those with high job demands were more likely to pile on the pounds than those with less demanding roles.

The report found: “work fatigue and working overtime reduce the possibilities to eat according to recommendations and engage in leisure time physical activity.”

One of the reports authors, Tea Lallukka said: “Weight gain is a common epidemic with huge economic costs and serious consequences on public health.

“Working conditions should be taken into consideration when planning worksite health promotion programmes.”

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