Keep away unhealthy snacks to cut obesity risk

New York, May 15 (IANS) The proximity to snacks at workplace can increase your consumption behaviour, says a new study that focuses on how companies can promote healthy choices and still provide indulgent goodies.

Many companies provide free snacks and beverages to incentivise productivity and boost morale of its employees. However, unhealthy snacking may cause an office obesity epidemic.

The findings showed the proximity of snacks to free beverages increased the consumption rate.

The closer the snacks were placed to the drinks, the more people tended to eat, even a difference of a few feet mattered.

“It was a bit surprising that an extra few feet of distance between snacks and beverages yielded such a significant change in snacking frequency,” said lead researcher Ernest Baskin, consumer behaviour expert and professor at Saint Joseph’s University in the US.

Also, the snacking behaviour was found more in men as opposed to women.

“Factors that influence consumer behaviour without our full realisation, like convenience or relative proximity, are especially important to study to help educate individuals about healthy decision-making,” Baskin noted.

The study, published in the journal Appetite, worked on how to provide the right kind of culinary indulgence that make an office so attractive to employees without.

Potential interventions for reducing snacking in the workplace include moving healthier snack options closer, or making unhealthy snacks more difficult to access (placing them in a pantry or in a free vending machine), the researchers suggested.

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