Americans Eat Too Much Free Food at Work

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They found that 22 percent of the participants consumed food from work that average almost 1,300 calories per week. "We're eating more meat than recommended, more refined grains", said Angela Amico, a policy associate at the Center for Science in the Public Interest who was not involved with the study.

A study conducted by US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on 5,222 employees from a US firm showed that almost a quarter of the employees had food from work at least once a week and their average weekly calories obtained came up to around 1,300.

Researchers will present their findings at the annual meeting of the American Society for Nutrition in Boston this week, according to EurekAlert!.

A new study from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention finds working Americans eat an average of 1,300 calories at work a week. Onufrak and colleagues also found that the foods are not just high in calories, but they also tend to be unhealthy. A significant amount, which may well be responsible for those extra pounds, especially since those are mostly empty calories - nearly devoid of nutrients, full of solid fats and added sugars.

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"If you look at the quality of the foods people got, it definitely did not necessarily adhere to the dietary guidelines very closely", he continued. "With employees spending eight hours a day on average at their place of employment, a lot of people may not be aware of all of the calories they get from work, especially from foods they get for free".

The results of the study of 5,222 employees across the United States suggest that workplaces can play an important role to help ensure access to and promote healthier food options.

Researchers are now conducting a similar study focused more deeply on foods purchased at vending machines or cafeterias. But the problem may lie with the "free" factor - an employer comping lunch, a co-worker bringing in leftover birthday cake could be doing a job on your health.

Employees reported items like pizza, soda, cookies, brownies, cake, and candy being made available at work. In addition, employers could regulate foods in cafeterias or vending machines, supplying only those that follow nutritional guidelines.

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"We have salad, French fries and pizza. among that list, there weren't a lot of nutrient-dense foods", Onufrak said.

"Employers can encourage healthier foods at meetings and events, especially when the employer is providing free food to employees", Onufrak told ABC.

A growing number of workplace environments now encourage healthier eating habits and even provide wellness support or access to healthier foods in employee cafeterias. "Providing delicious, appealing, healthy food can also help to create a culture of health at a workplace".

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