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Lunch breaks: Myth v reality

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If you feel tied to your desk and guilty for taking a lunch break then you’re not alone. Research from PruHealth indicates that half of the UK’s employees say they do not have the time to leave their desks at lunchtime.

The lunchtime break might be part of their terms and conditions but 20 per cent say that they feel taking a lunch break is frowned upon and 18 per cent say they never take their full lunch break.

And as if lunchtime wasn’t enough, 24 per cent of respondents to PruHealth’s survey said they had more than one meal a day at their desks.

But not taking a break can be counterproductive – a healthy balanced lunch can help prevent flagging energy levels and exercise helps reduce tiredness.

PruHealth direct marketing and partnerships director Nick Read said: “There is a distinct gap between the lunch break entitlement and the reality of the UK’s typical lunch hour habits.

“While it’s understandable that many people feel it’s better to work through their lunch breaks in order to meet deadlines – it’s something we all have to do from time to time – it’s important to try and get into the habit of taking a break.

“Not only does the break itself help keep your mind and body properly energised, it also gives you a chance to choose a healthier option, rather than just grabbing the nearest thing which is often not the most healthy.

“Taking time out to get some fresh air and eat a balanced lunch will actually make you much more productive than pushing through without a break. Furthermore, the pressure you put on your body by not eating a regular, healthy diet and following a high-stress lifestyle could have adverse effects on your health in the long term.”

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