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Many Working Americans Obtain Unhealthy Foods at Work

Last Updated: June 12, 2018.

Many working Americans obtain food and beverages from work, and these foods often do not align with dietary guidelines, according to a study presented during Nutrition 2018, the annual meeting of the American Society for Nutrition, held from June 9 to 12 in Boston.

TUESDAY, June 12, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Many working Americans obtain food and beverages from work, and these foods often do not align with dietary guidelines, according to a study presented during Nutrition 2018, the annual meeting of the American Society for Nutrition, held from June 9 to 12 in Boston.

Stephen Onufrak, Ph.D., from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Berkeley Lake, Ga., and colleagues used data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Acquisition and Purchasing Survey to examine food purchases and free acquisitions made at worksites among 5,222 employed adults.

The researchers found that 22 percent of working adults obtained foods or beverages at work during the week; per person, the food obtained averaged 1,277 kcal per week. Overall, 35, 20, 12, 11, 12, and 10 percent of those who obtained food at work had one, two, three, four, five, and more than five acquisition occasions, respectively. Acquiring food for free was more common than purchasing food (17 versus 8 percent); 71 percent of all calories acquired at work were accounted for by free food. Work foods were high in empty calories, sodium, and refined grains, and low in whole grains and fruit, according to the 2010 Health Eating Index. Foods typically high in solid fat, added sugars, or sodium were the leading foods obtained.

"We hope that the results of our research will help increase healthy food options at worksites in the United States," Onufrak said in a statement.

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