Work is making (some) millennials fat

Your job may be sabotaging your diet. 

Well, in a sense. Allison Watts, lead author of a study at the Minnesota School of Public Health, looked at whether the workplace influenced behavior of young adults when it came to their health.

The researchers examined influences such as having daily access to vending machines, proximity to a fast food, living close to the office and the perceived ease of eating a healthy diet or being active at work.

The study included data from 1,538 employed young adults who had participated in a large cohort health survey called Project EAT. Watts said while there have been similar studies about how work environments influence healthful behavior, few targeted this particular age group specifically.

Researchers found that 17 percent of millennials in workplaces with a healthy food environment were obese, compared to 24 percent with low exposure to a healthy food environment. Eighty percent of the respondents reported having access to soda, sugary foods and snacks at work; only 50 percent reported that it was easy to eat a healthy diet or be physically active at work.

“Workplace environments are one setting that can be harnessed to better support their healthy eating and activity behaviors as part of a comprehensive approach to obesity prevention,” Watts concluded. “There is a critical need to identify new interventions that promote healthy weight-related behaviors and prevent obesity in young adults.” 

The study appeared in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.

Reader comments

Thu, Feb 18, 2016 Dave

That 17% vs. 24% figure sounds like a textbook case of citing a correlation without considering whether the underlying groups self-select toward the different environments. In other words, it sounds like a garbage stat.

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