It’s no secret that cupcakes in the break room provide little nutrition. But a new report reveals that many Americans might be overindulging in snacks.
Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently conducted a study, presented at a American Society for Nutrition meeting, to determine how many unhealthy foods employees consume while on the job.
To do so, they used data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Acquisition and Purchasing Survey, a national questionnaire on food purchases and acquisitions during a seven-day period.
The team specifically assessed the foods and beverages bought at work from vending machines or cafeterias or items that were snagged for free from common areas, meetings or worksite social events.
After analyzing the results, they found that nearly a quarter of the participants received food from work at least once a week averaging almost 1,300 calories. More than 70 percent of those calories came from food that was free.
Furthermore, not only were the foods high in calories, they also contained added sugars and high amounts of sodium. They also included very few whole grains and fruit.
“To our knowledge, this is the first national study to look at the food people get at work,” coauthor Stephen Onufrak said in statement. “Our results suggest that the foods people get from work do not align well with the recommendations in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.”
The researchers are encouraging employers to implement worksite wellness programs to promote healthier eating. They also believe foods in cafeterias or vending machines should follow proper food service guidelines.
“Since we found that a lot of the foods obtained by employees were free,” Onufrak, “employers may also want to consider healthy meeting policies to encourage healthy food options at meetings and social events.”
The scientists are now hoping to continue their investigations to explore the foods specifically purchased from vending machines and cafeterias at work.
“Worksite wellness programs have the potential to reach millions of working Americans and have been shown to be effective at changing health behaviors among employees, reducing employee absenteeism and reducing health care costs,” said Onufrak. “We hope that the results of our research will help increase healthy food options at worksites in the U.S.”
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.
Download the new AJC app. More local news, more breaking news and in-depth journalism. AJC.com. Atlanta. News. Now.
Download the new AJC app. More local news, more breaking news and in-depth journalism.
With the largest team in the state, the AJC reports what’s really going on with your tax dollars and your elected officials. Subscribe today. Visit the AJC's Georgia Navigator for the latest in Georgia politics.
Your subscription to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism. Visit the AJC's Georgia Navigator for the latest in Georgia politics.