How stress at work can make you pile on weight, by researchers

StressA job that suddenly becomes demanding can make you fat, researchers claim.
That’s because a new bout of workplace stress can lead to poor diet and comfort eating.

Interestingly, being under constant pressure doesn’t affect weight. It isn’t clear why this is, but it may be that the sudden onset of long hours and extra demands causes havoc with diet and exercise plans.

In contrast, those who have chosen to be in stressful professions may get a buzz out of the challenge, meaning they don’t resort to bad habits to boost their mood and energy levels.

Researchers from University College London crunched together the results of eight studies involving more than 60,000 people.

It showed those whose jobs went from being stress-free to pressurised over the course of several years were at an increased risk of obesity.

They were almost 20 per cent more likely to have become dangerously overweight during the intervening period than those whose working life remained a breeze for them.

Commenting on the findings, Professor Sir Cary Cooper, an expert in workplace health and psychology, said that certain types of workers are drawn to stressful jobs and therefore thrive on the pressure.

But Sir Cary, of Manchester University, added: “If your job becomes more stressful, it means you are not coping with it.

“You are probably working longer hours, which means you are probably not eating as well as before, you are probably not having a proper lunch or walking as much. Comfort eating can also creep in, he explained. ‘You need the energy to cope with the overload and you go for junk food or sweet food to give you the energy you need.”

Writing in the International Journal of Obesity, Professor Mika Kivimaki said that it is important to find new ways to tackle the obesity epidemic.

But with his analysis failing to show that a reduction in job stress was good for the waistline, he said that tackling pressure in the workplace may not be the key to winning the battle of the bulge.

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