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Are your staff eating unhealthily? Give them more engaging work

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If you find that the crisps and chocolate supply in your pantry is running out at a faster rate than usual, it might be because your staff are getting bored with their work.

According to a research by Dr Sandi Mann and her fellow authors, Faye Ibbitson and Ben Edwards, from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), people crave fatty and sugary foods when they are bored.

The researchers conducted two studies of boredom and food choices.

In the first study, 52 participants were asked to complete a questionnaire on their food preferences before and after completing a boredom-inducing task – repeatedly copying the same group of letters.

It found that after completing the boring task, participants were more likely to crave unhealthy foods such as crisps, sweets and fast food.

ALSO READ: Staff in Hong Kong are the unhealthiest in APAC

The second study had 45 participants watch either a boring or a funny video with a range of healthy and unhealthy snacks available, weighing the bowls before and after each trial to track how much each snack had been eaten.

Similarly, the second study found that participants who had watched the boring video ate significantly more unhealthy food.

Dr Mann said: “These results are in line with previous research suggesting that we crave fatty and sugary foods when we are bored. This strengthens the theory that boredom is related to low levels of the stimulating brain chemical dopamine and that people try to boost this by eating fat and sugar if they cannot alleviate their boredom in some other way.

“People designing health education campaigns to encourage us to make healthier food choices need to take boredom, including boredom in the workplace, into account. Bored people do not eat nuts.”

Image: Shutterstock

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