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Allan Schwartz, Ph.D.Allan Schwartz, Ph.D.
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Stress and Obesity,

Allan N. Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D. Updated: Oct 5th 2007

The posting just previous to the present one discussed the Mayo Clinic finding that relaxation is enormously important in preventing health problems caused by job stress and other worries. The study also pointed to several strategies all people should use to preserve and enhance their physical and mental health. The present posting looks at the risk of obesity resulting from job stress.

According to Charles P. Vega, MD, Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, University of California, Irvine, job stress is a major factor causing obesity. A study was done that confirmed the connection between job stress, obesity and other types of health problems. One of the major facts that was pointed out in the study was that obesity has become a serious health problem not only in the United States but in industrial nations around the world. While the study found a strong connection between job stress and obesity it was also stated that environmental and cultural factors contribute to the problem. Among these are the fact that many more families choose to eat their meals outside of the home. Because many families are concerned about their finances they eat at fast food restaurants. Other studies have shown that those who eat at fast food restaurants more twice a week or more are more likely to gain weight and become obese. In addition to eating at fast food restaurants, eating at buffet style restaurants greatly increased the risk of serious weight gain.

The present study looked at 10,308 civil servants between the ages of 35 and 55. Among the findings were that men were more likely than women to suffer the negative effects of job stress in terms of obesity. In addition, the lack of social support at work was an important factor in increasing the risk of obesity.

It should go without saying that obesity brings with it the dangers of high blood pressure, cardio vascular disease, stroke, diabetes and early death.

Dr. Vega warns that the effects of stress at work are a major health issue.

It is important for our readers to know that there are things they can do to avoid suffering health problems caused by work related stress. There is no use in waiting for companies and the health care industry to do something about this when each of us, regardless of the work we do, can take the situation into our own hands and improve our health.

To reverse the negative effects of an aggravating work environment (and home environment) each of us can and should engage in a program of exercise, especially the cardio vascular type, healthy nutrition rather than fast food or buffet foods, and the good company of friends and relatives.

Consult your medical doctor for advice about improving your health and stress level and look at the many other articles on Mental Help Net on health and mental health.

Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D.

Readers who live in the Boulder, Colorado metro area, or in Southwest Florida may contact Dr. Schwartz for face-to-face consultation. He is also available for psychotherapy through Skype video for those who are not in Florida or Colorado. He can be reached via email at for details.

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