Surprise! Stress Packs on the Pounds

Do you gain weight when you’re stressed out? You’re not alone. The correlation between stress and weight gain is fairly well known, but a recent study of 2,782 employees by the University of Rochester Medical Center confirms that chronic job stress and a lack of physical activity are strongly associated with being overweight or obese.

A manufacturing company cited in the study had undergone restructuring and layoffs. Employees confided to researchers that they were “stress eating” and burned out from “doing the work of five people.’

It’s interesting that on one hand companies have reduced staff and increased work loads, while on the other they tout wellness incentives that reward employees for following a healthy lifestyle and losing weight. In some cases, companies are now charging overweight employees higher premiums or limiting their coverage options as a way to control the cost of health care. Maybe if those companies hired more people, employees would be able to slim down and they wouldn’t need to offer financial incentives.

Bottom line: Don’t damage your health because of workplace stress. Seek help if you’re depressed or overeating, and turn off the TV and go out and exercise in the evening. Remember, you can always get another job, but you can’t get a new body.

Leslie Stevens-Huffman

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