Relax, job stress doesn't lead to weight gain

  • AFP, None, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jun 08, 2015 13:22 IST

You've been blaming everything sad in your life to that stressful office of yours? Even weight gain? It is now time to redeem your office a bit. A number of studies have often blamed job stress for weight gain, but perhaps they've been wrong all along, says a new European study.

They suggest stress can have an impact on weight and could be responsible for obesity. Snacking, addictive or compulsive behaviours and an unbalanced diet could, in fact, be provoked by the instability of mismanaged emotions.

This new study attempts to understand to what point job stress can be linked to weight gain in normal weight people.

A team of European researchers analysed eight studies involving more than 60,000 workers who reported on-job stress and allowed scientists to record their weight over time.

The researchers indicated in the June 4 issue of the International Journal of Obesity that the results of these studies showed no link between job stress and weight gain or obesity. The team also ascertained that people who had seen their job stress level diminish had not experienced any related weight loss. A reduction in professional anxiety doesn't seem to be related to a reduction in obesity.

The one group that did gain weight, however, was made up of men and women who went from a relatively stress-free working situation into one where they experienced more job-related anxiety. This suggests that a change in job stress levels might be more important to weight gain than a consistent level of stress.

Thus, a new job with an increase in workload and pressure would be more dangerous for the waistline than daily work-related stress.

While the authors admit that the way people defined job stress in the eight studies varied, these results still merit further study. In any case, promoting professional well-being seems to be one of the most promising solutions possible to remedy this public health issue.

In March 2014, the American Journal of Preventive Medicine published a study on obesity at work and showed that the jobs most at risk were those in public administration and in the health sector.

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