HR Strange But True!
January 15, 2009

If your employees are constantly munching at work, it's a good sign and not the failure of your wellness program. A study at Laval University in Quebec shows that intellectual activity makes people eat more calories!

The study, reported in the January issue of Prevention, was conducted over a 2-month period on nonsmokers with the same body mass, level of physical activity, and diet patterns (no vegetarians or people with food allergies). Participants were fed the same breakfast of peanut butter sandwiches and orange juice. Later, all sat at similar desks. Some were given texts to summarize; others were given memory or vigilance tests to complete. The control group just relaxed.

Then participants were told to select lunch from a buffet where all selections were portioned and weighed. The “thinkers” were much hungrier than the “relaxers,” with those summarizing text eating 200 more calories, and those taking the intellectual tests eating 250 more calories at the lunch.

According to a report, the researchers from the Quebec university feel this study shows a new risk factor for obesity in the potential for weight gain from jobs requiring constant thinking and reasoning. So wellness programs aimed at those in intellectually challenging jobs should include the increase in expenditures of physical energy so employees can maintain healthy weight.

Source: Prevention and NHS Knowledge Service

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