Connect to share and comment

Work stress can cause overeating, study says

Burnt-out workers were more likely to "emotionally eat," Finnish researchers found.

eating stressEnlarge
People eat their lunch on benches in the town centre of Swindon, England. (Matt Cardy/AFP/Getty Images)

Burnt-out at work can lead to overeating, according to a new study conducted by a reserach team in Finland.

It found the burnt-out workers were far more likely to "emotionally eat" than those without burnout — or, as Australia's Nine Network put it, "seek comfort in food when they felt stressed, anxious or depressed."

More from GlobalPost: 3D printing: Your body parts made to order

And overweight and obese individuals were more likely to engage in these behaviors, too, according to the study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

"Among overweight and obese subjects, failure to make changes due to burnout and reduced resources may impair self-esteem and self-efficacy, which are important for achieving success in weight maintenance," CNN cited the study authors as writing.

However, among those without burnout, uncontrolled eating decreased significantly over the year. And there was no significant weight difference between people with and without burnout — almost half those with burnout were of normal weight.

CNN pointed out that some people actually ate less when they were stressed out.

Nor did the study take into account the participants' weight history, which could have impacted the results.

Nine cited study leader Nina Nevanpera, of the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, as saying that regardless, treating a woman's stress and exhaustion could have a positive flow-on effect to her diet.

"We recommend that burnout should be treated first and that burnout and eating behavior should be evaluated in obesity treatment" Nevanpera said.

"Those experiencing burnout may be more vulnerable to emotional eating and uncontrolled eating and have a hindered ability to make changes in their eating behavior."

The study involved 230 working women aged 30 to 35 – 22 percent of whom reported some level of "work burn-out" prior to the study.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/health/120316/burnt-out-overeating-obesity-finland-study