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Stressed-out employees at risk for other health problems

Consumer Reports News: August 31, 2011 04:38 PM

Super stressed? If so, it might also effect how much you eat and exercise, and even your confidence, according to a study published today in the American Journal of Health Promotion in which researchers found that asking people just one simple question about their stress levels quickly determines their risk for poor health.

Researchers looked at responses from a survey of 13,000 workers who had enrolled in their employer’s wellness center. Nearly 17 percent, or 2,147, reported stress "as bad as it can be." Those very stressed employees reported poorer eating habits, more fatigue, and lower activity levels than their less-stressed counterparts. They also reported more health problems, including being overweight and having high blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels.

Other studies have linked stress to type 2 diabetes, asthma, chronic pain, depression, gastrointestinal problems, and multiple sclerosis.

Bottom line: If you’re feeling stressed, consider some self-help measures—yoga, regular exercise, massage, mellow music, or even volunteer work. If those aren’t enough, stress-reduction sessions or one-on-one therapy might help.

Stress level, health behaviors and quality of life in employees joining a wellness center [American Journal of Health Promotion]

Ginger Skinner

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