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Eating for two? The perils of the office diet

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The dietary habits of neighbouring work colleagues can have a drastic effect on your weight, according to a new survey.

More than three quarters of employees believe that gaining weight is the result of the unhealthy influence of the person who sits next to them in the office.

The study of 2,000 workers also found that one in ten admitted they were driven to scoff chocolate or sweets when their desk buddy tucked into fatty foods; whilst 57 per cent said they ate their lunch earlier than planned because colleagues close by had started munching theirs.

It is not just the behavioural eating habits of colleagues that is piling on the pounds but boredom. A third of workers admitted it was this that was the biggest trigger for heading to the snack machine.

Willpower also plays a part – three quarters said that promises to eat healthily for the week fell apart as early as Tuesday. Co-dieting appears to buck the poor eating trend with 22 per cent saying they have gone on a diet to join a colleague.

Another 63 per cent admitted trying to eat healthier at work than they do at home so they can look good in front of workmates.

A spokesman for Hula Hoops low fat Multigrain, the survey authors, said: “Workers’ eating habits are greatly influenced by those of other people in the office. But it is only natural to crave food when others around you are snacking. It is very easy to put on a few pounds by eating unhealthy snacks between meals.”

IT and recruitment workers topped the snacking league followed by estate agents.

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Annie Hayes

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