Working long hours under excessive stress has long been attributed to many health problems. However, a new study found another correlation that many people may not have considered before. Working too hard may actually lead to overeating.
The study has recently been published in theÂ American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The study followed 230 working women over the course of a year. The study identified women in the study who suffered from fatigue and feelings that their work wasn’t appreciated. Throughout the course of the study, researchers noticed that these women were more likely to develop significant emotional problems.
One of the key findings of the study was that women suffering from emotional problems deriving from “workplace burnout” were more likely to eat excessively. Researchers did identify women who ate excessively at the beginning of the study. However, they found that those individuals’ appetites decreased significantly over the course of the study.
The study authors hypothesize that women who feltÂ under-appreciated at work were more likely to suffer from low self-esteem. Previous studies have found that low self-esteem is a major reason that many people have difficulty controlling their diets.
Stress and Depression
Although the study authors made this observation, they didn’t conclude that workplace burnout is correlated with weight gain. Previous studies have found there is no link between burnout and weight gain. The researchers point out that there are clearly a number of differences. Obviously, not all respondents respond to stress or depression in the same way. Also, many people who overeat may not gain weight due to higher metabolism and increased exercise. Furthermore, some respondents may eat less under severe levels of stress.
Another limitation with the study was that it didn’t account for whether or not the study participants took any steps to change their diet before the study was conducted. Additional research will be needed to verify these findings. However, the preliminary findings of this study seem plausible to many medical professionals. They are likely to conclude with the study’s authors that they should reduce the impact of workplace burnout. This involves treatment with therapy and any possible lifestyle changes.
Meagan Mohammadione is a registered dietitian. Mahmmdione wasn’t involved in the study, but she isn’t surprised by its initial findings. Her experience is that many of her patients do not overeat because they are more inclined to feel hungry. Rather, they overeat because they are trying to fill a psychological need.
[box type=”note”]Since the study only followed women, the researchers cannot conclude that the same findings would apply to men. However, they still advocate anyone suffering from workplace burnout to take all necessary measures to any deficits in their self-esteem or feelings of depression.[/box]