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Overworked women 'more likely to eat when stressed'

March 14, 2012

Women who experience burnout at work may be more likely to indulge in emotional eating, a Finnish study has found.

Women who are over-worked or bored with their job are more likely to comfort themselves by eating, a study suggests.

Scientists in Finland studied 230 employed women, aged 30 to 55, who completed surveys on job burnout and their eating habits.

More than a fifth (22 per cent) of respondents reported some degree of work burnout, and these individuals were more likely to indulge in so-called 'emotional eating' than those who did not feel overworked.

The findings suggest that women in this situation may want to consider looking for another job in order to avoid putting on excess weight.

Researchers at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health concluded: "Those experiencing burnout may be more vulnerable to emotional eating and uncontrolled eating and have a hindered ability to make changes in their eating behaviour."

Sherry Pagoto, a University of Massachusetts researcher who was not involved in the study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, observed that work permeates people's lives and that for people who are unhappy at work, "eating can become one of the few pleasures in their lives".

Last year, scientists at the University of Texas discovered that a stress hormone called ghrelin may contribute to comfort eating, as it may increase a person's appetite and cravings for fatty food.

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