How working in the office can make you fat

A new year and a new you! As more workers return to the office to work, new habits are forming. What most people don't know is how working in the office can make you fat. People are products of their environment, and when the environment is a large office space, that can sometimes mean that people are products of gluttony, or at least overindulgence. Because when you work in a typical office environment, food is usually everywhere.

According to a study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average office worker, which is about a quarter of the U.S. population, is expected to consume an additional 1,300 calories a week while working. This calorie count is based on food that they did not bring from home or order from outside providers.

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“The majority of the calories people got at work they didn't pay for – 70 percent of the calories were free,” study co-author and CDC epidemiologist Stephen Onufrak told WebMD.

That means 1,300 calories equates to the minefield of free food that many employees have to navigate to stay healthy in the office. This can range from free cake for Alice's birthday to sweets at the reception or the submarine sandwiches left over from work lunch. For many, free food is a way to express affection in the workplace or perhaps boost morale. Of course, free cookies or cake can bring joy to any office, but not without long-term effects.

According to WebMD, the foods and beverages employees reach for most in the office are coffee, sugar-sweetened soft drinks, sandwiches, tea, cookies, brownies, French fries, pizza, salad, water and diet soft drinks.

So how should employers respond to create a work environment that promotes health and well-being?

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“Employers can encourage healthier foods at meetings and events, especially if the employer provides free food to employees,” Onufrak told ABC News. “Providing delicious, appealing and healthy food can also help create a culture of health in the workplace.”

Long-term health or fleeting happiness? Your call.

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