Workplaces across America provide their employees with foods high in salt and also also also refined grains and also also also low in whole grains and also also also fruit, according to research presented Monday at the American Society for Nutrition annual meeting.
The study, conducted by researchers via the Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and also also also Obesity at the US Centers for Disease Control and also also also Prevention, looked at more than 5,000 employees across the United States. The researchers analyzed the food or beverages purchased via vending machines or cafeterias at work, and also also also the free food in common areas.
Some of the most commonly obtained foods included beverages like coffee and also also also regular fizzy drinks, which are large sources of added sugar, sandwiches, water, tea, diet drinks, and also also also the list rounds out with cookies and also also also brownies, said Stephen Onufrak, an epidemiologist at the CDC.
“We have salad, French fries and also also also pizza … among which list, there weren’t a lot of nutrient-dense foods,” Onufrak said.
which all adds up — almost a quarter of the study participants consumed almost 1,300 calories per week. Approximately 70% of those calories were via free food in common areas, during meetings or at work-related social events, according to analysis of the data via a household survey of food purchases and also also also acquisitions.
Onufrak presented the results of the study at an annual meeting of the American Society for Nutrition in Boston.
“Unfortunately, the diets of Americans in general is usually not actually consistent with the recommendations via the US Dietary Guidelines for Americans. We’re eating more meat than recommended, more refined grains,” said Angela Amico, a policy associate at the Center for Science inside the Public Interest who was not involved with the study. “Americans are not consuming enough fruits, vegetables, and also also also dairy and also also also which can be challenging to meet those guidelines when you have a food environment which doesn’t support which.”
When employees spend more than half of their waking hours inside the workplace, they are pushed to pick unhealthy foods and also also also the empty calories quickly add up, Amico noted.
“While work foods aren’t actually necessarily a huge source of calories overall in people’s diets, I think they are still a significant source,” Onufrak said. “If you look at the quality of the foods people got, which definitely did not necessarily adhere to the dietary guidelines very closely.”
One solution suggested by the study authors: Employers could promote “worksite wellness” programs to encourage healthy eating and also also also include food options which follow federal recommendations in vending machines and also also also cafeterias.
“Along with just offering those foods, they can promote them, make them attractive, delicious, priced competitively with less healthy foods, highlight them on menus, and also also also put them in a prominent place,” Onufrak said.