Last updated on Jul 7th, 2020 at 02:24 pm

Packing a healthy work lunch could help you stick to your diet, but failing to plan work meals could lead to a day of overindulging…

A new study of 602 employees at a large hospital found that those who purchased the least healthy food in its cafeteria were more likely to have an unhealthy diet outside work and be overweight and/or obese, compared to employees who made healthier purchases.

Those who ate the least healthy work lunches also had higher have risk factors for diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

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We spend half our waking hours at work

Since many people spend about half their waking hours at work and consume food acquired at work, these findings could help shape worksite wellness programs.

“Workplace wellness programmes have the potential to promote lifestyle changes among large populations of employees, yet to date, there have been challenges to developing effective programmes. We hope our findings will help to inform the development of accessible, scalable, and affordable interventions,” notes Jessica L. McCurley, PhD, MPH, one of the study’s investigators and Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.

The study participants were Massachusetts General Hospital employees who regularly used the hospital’s cafeterias and were enrolled in a health promotion study in 2016 – 2018.

As part of the hospital’s ‘Choose Well, Eat Well’ programme, foods and beverages in the hospital cafeterias have ‘traffic light’ labels to indicate their healthfulness: green is healthy, yellow is less healthy, and red is unhealthy. Food displays have also been modified to put healthier choices in the direct line of sight, while unhealthy foods were made less accessible to reduce impulse purchases.

 Start a wellness programme

Instead of waiting for your workplace to start a wellness programme, start your own.

Pack a healthy work lunch and wholesome snacks, like fruit and yoghurt, to help you stay energised and beat the temptation to stuff down work stress with burger and chips.

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Source: Elsevier via

While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.