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Poor Food Choices at Work Can Impact Overall Diet

Poor diet at work is linked to obesity and diabetes.

Since many Americans spend half their waking hours at a job, it makes sense that the food they decide to purchase at work can have a big impact on their overall diet.

As reported in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital employees who opted for the least healthful food in the hospital cafeteria—indicated by a red traffic light symbol—were more likely to eat a less nutritious diet when not at work than employees who purchased more healthful foods, advertised with a green traffic light symbol. Food choices were observed over a 3-month period. Workers who had the lowest “Healthy Purchasing Score” also had the lowest overall diet quality and the highest risk for obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes.

Perhaps this begs the question: Should workplaces offer more nutritious choices on-site and implement wellness programs geared to educating employees on the importance of healthy eating?

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD, is a James Beard Award–winning food journalist, dietitian and author of the cookbook Rocket Fuel: Power-Packed Food for Sport + Adventure (VeloPress 2016). He has written for dozens of magazines, including Runner’s World, Men’s Health, Shape, Men’s Fitness and Muscle and Fitness.

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