Workplaces are a Danger to Healthy Eating Habits and Behavior

November 7, 2007 ( - A survey of American workers by Nationwide Better Health indicates many workplaces are little more than emporiums of unhealthy eating habits and a general unhealthy lifestyle.

A news release said the survey found employees generally believe they are making healthy choices at work and remaining active during the day, but their actions show differently.

Almost three-quarters of employees surveyed (72%) eat an unhealthy snack at work at least once a week and a little more than a quarter (27%) eat an unhealthy snack three or more times a week. Broken down by age, 22% of Gen Y (age 18-27), compared to 9% of Baby Boomers (age 45 and older), and 13% of Gen X (age 28-44), eat an unhealthy snack more than five times a week.

The poll found only 42% of employees are provided with healthy food selections in their cafeterias or vending machines, the release said.

In addition, more than one-third of employees (34%) admitted they do not typically see a jumble of activity – that their jobs require them to stay put behind their desk most of the day.

Gen X employees were the most likely to allow stress to affect their diets, with 45% stating that their jobs impacted their eating habits. Only 35% of Gen Y and 32% of Baby Boomers felt the same. Some 48% of females, compared to 32% of males, said stress leads to worse eating habits.

The good news is 66% of survey respondents said they would participate in gym memberships, nutrition education, and weight management programs if their employer offered them. Seventy-four percent of women said they would take advantage of such programs, compared to 60% of men.

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