Is Your Workplace Making You Prone To Obesity?

Yes!! Multiple researchers have proven that workplace can affect the health of an individual in various ways. A work environment that involves physical activity increases the risk of suffering from some sort of injury, whereas a work environment that involves sedentary behavior increases the risk of developing some serious diseases including obesity.

Obesity has become one of the public health concern in the United States and elsewhere. Obesity is characterized by the accumulation of excessive fat in the body. Obesity is a metabolic disorder which is defined as a condition in which the amount of excess body adipose tissue is accumulated in such a high rate that it can adversely affect the health of an individual.

Obesity occurs due to the imbalance between the calorie intake and energy expenditure. When the intake of calories is more than energy expenditure, obesity develops. There are different numbers of factors that could lead to the development of obesity such as such as behavioral, psychological, environmental, and genetics. Body Mass Index (BMI) is defined as a tool that measures the body fat in an individual.

  • When body mass index is less than 18.5 kg/m2 , considered to be underweight.
  • When body mass index is greater than 25 kg/m2, considered to be overweight.
  • When body mass index is above 30 kg/m2, considered to be obese.

The high prevalence of obesity has become a topic of concern due to its association with a wide range of abnormalities. Obesity significantly increases the risk of developing many chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, and psychological disorders.

According to the research, obesity rates have risen substantially among the employees who are involved in desk jobs.

There is a close relationship between a desk job and sedentary behavior. An employee who is involved in desk job adopts sedentary behavior. Sedentary behavior includes little or no movement and excessive time spent on sedentary behavior increases the risk of obesity.  Sedentary behavior is associated with very less or no physical movement and there is strong evidence that suggests that the negative effect of sedentary behavior is primarily due to the low amount of physical activity.

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Excessive time spent on sedentary behavior means more usage of gadgets and latest technologies which causes people to increasingly experience the decrease in physical activity. When an individual is at workplace there might not be any major change in the intake of calories but there will be a significant decrease in energy expenditure. Thus, an increased risk of weight gain.

Evidence suggests that working hours are highly associated with the health of a person.

The working hours of an individual can have a significant impact on the health related behavior of an individual. Long work days or long working hours can make an individual feel exhausted and stressed, which interferes in the availability of energy physical activity. No doubt a lack of physical activity is associated with weight gain.

Also, many times the workplace increases the level of stress due to high job demands. Stress is a common risk factor for high body mass index. Stress leads to the activation of certain biological and behavioral responses that increases the risk of high body mass index and obesity. Changes in behavioral responses such as changes in eating and sleeping pattern. In one of the studies, it was observed that American women who experienced high stress at workplace reported being overeating. Overeating indicates an increase in calorie intake and when calorie intake is more than needed by the body, weight gain occurs.

Many studies have also stated a correlation between the working hours and the occurrence of sleep disorders. Long working hours have been associated with sleep disturbances, especially insomnia. Insomnia is a sleep disorder which is characterized by difficulty falling asleep, short sleep, waking up early and unrefreshed. Also, not only long working hours but working in night shifts can have an impact on both the quality and quantity of sleep. Impaired quality and quantity of sleep are associated with an increased risk of being obese. Sleep impairment causes fatigue which reduces the amount of physical activity.

Eating habits of an employee can have an impact on their health.

What we eat has a direct relationship with our health. Healthy eating habits promote a healthy lifestyle, whereas bad eating pattern contributes to the development of various health conditions like obesity.

It has been observed that employees purchase lunch at least once or twice a week and the lunch they purchase are often junk. Junk food is a good that contains low nutritional value and high fat. High intake of fat for at least once or twice a week could lead to the build up of excess fat in the body, resulting in obesity. Lack of nutrition in the body is also associated with high body mass index. When the body lacks important nutrients, a person is more likely to feel tired all the time, as a result, he or she adopts a lifestyle that involves very less of no movement. As a result, this leads to an increase in calorie intake and a decrease in energy expenditure.


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