Humans are products of their environment, and when the environment is a large office space, that can sometimes mean humans are products of gluttony or at the very least, overindulgence. Because when you work in a typical office setting, food tends to be everywhere.
An average office worker, which equal about a quarter of the U.S. population, is expected to gorge an extra 1,300 calories a week while at work, according to a study from the U.S. Centers For Disease Control And Prevention. That calorie count is based on food they didn’t bring from home or order from outside vendors.
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“The majority of the calories people got at work, people didn’t pay for — 70 percent of the calories were free,” study co-author and CDC epidemiologist Stephen Onufrak told WebMD.
That means that 1,300 calories is found to the free food minefield that many employees must navigate to remain healthy in office settings. That could range from free cake for Alice’s birthday to candy on the front desk to the submarine sandwiches leftover from the working lunch. For many, free food is a means to express affection in the work place or maybe to boost morale. Sure, free cookies or cake can bring joy to any office setting, but not without long-term effects.
Food and beverages workers reach for the most at the office include: coffee, sugar-sweetened soft drinks, sandwiches, tea, cookies, brownies, french fries, pizza, salad, water, diet soft drinks, according to WebMD.
So how should employers respond to create a work environment that promotes health and wellness?
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“Employers can encourage healthier foods at meetings and events, especially when the employer is providing free food to employees,” Onufrak told ABC News. “Providing delicious, appealing, healthy food can also help to create a culture of health at a workplace.”
Longterm health or fleeting happiness? Your call.