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Binge eating affects work performance

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Not only can binge eating affect health and personal relationships, but a new study says that it can lower productivity at work, too.

Researchers at the Department of Psychology at Wesleyan University in Connecticut surveyed 117,272 employees based in the U.S. Participants answered questions in four categories: missing work, showing up to work when sick, total work productivity impairment and non-work activity impairment. The survey included questions about binge eating, overeating, depression and other health problems.

Binge eaters and work impairment

About 10 percent of the participants reported binge eating episodes, and work "impairment" in this group ranked about 5-6 percent higher than for non-binge eaters.

Binge eaters were also found to miss work more often--almost twice as much as non-binge eaters--and were less likely to show up for work when sick. They also had more episodes of letting non-work related things get in the way of productivity.

"Findings suggest significant associations of binge eating and work productivity impairment, and the diminished work productivity does not appear to simply be a function of depressed mood," the authors explained.

Interventions needed

While the researchers note that more studies are needed to determine just how much binge eating affects work productivity, they said that interventions would be a welcome tool for employers to utilize:

"Health initiatives for obese employees should include screening and interventions for employees with binge eating."

The study is published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders.

Source: Daily Rx