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Many people believe that snacking at work is the main reason for their expanding waistline but a new research found that this may not be the only reason.
People whose work days require constant decision-making are at greater risk of gaining weight compared to their counterparts.
The Australian research which looks into the link between people’s jobs and their waistline was published in the journal Social Science and Medicine
“Many people point to ‘eating too much and not moving enough’ as the cause of obesity,” said lead author Christopher Bean, a psychologist at the University of Adelaide.
“While this might explain how weight gain often happens, it does not acknowledge things such as environmental, psychological, social or cultural factors, these are some of the important why reasons that obesity happens.” he told Yahoo News.
Researchers from the University of Adelaide, Central Queensland University and the University of South Australia looked at data from 450 mostly middle-aged participants, 230 women and 220 men, working in a variety of different occupations, including both blue and white-collar jobs.
After controlling for sex, age, household income, work hours and job nature, they found that people that have skills and the freedom to use them at work tend to have lower body mass index (BMI) and a smaller waist size, whereas people who need to make a lot of decisions have bigger waist sizse.
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The research points out that in the context of global competition, employees with high decision authority may feel overwhelmed by the demands or by poorly defined choices in the workplace.
Excessive decision-making become a burden , leading to increases stress level and food consumption or changes in the way the body processes food, leading to weight gain.
The authors also suggested that the level of stress caused by demands to make decisions is related to personal attributes.Self-determined individuals who enjoys having high decision authority may benefit from the decision making but it is stressful for non-self-determined individuals.
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“Work is a fundamental part of life for many, so it is important to find innovative ways of extending our understanding of how factors at work may be implicated in the development and maintenance of obesity. It is important to challenge the status quo and explore unexpected or counter-intuitive findings with curiosity,” said Bean.