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    Employees Are Grazers

    Snacks eaten continuously; employers hold back holiday treats.

    Forty percent of employees report being "grazers" at work, eating small meals and snacks throughout the day, according to a Tell It Now poll by ComPsych, a Chicago-based firm specializing in employee assistance programs, behavioral health and other work-related issues.

    "While the majority of employees have a healthy habit of eating small meals throughout the day, the presence of holiday snacks and treats at work can turn this practice into a liability," said Dr. Richard A. Chaifetz, chairman and CEO of ComPsych.

    "It becomes easier for employees to graze on the junk food, which causes them to stop bringing their own healthy snacks. For this reason, many employers are asking outside business partners and vendors to send fresh fruits as gifts rather than calorie-laden sweets, for instance.

    "Employers have a vested interest in keeping employees conscious of good eating habits," he added. "It's part of corporate wellness efforts to keep waistlines - as well as health costs - trim."

    ComPsych asked employees, "What is your eating style at work?" Forty percent said they eat small meals and snacks all day; 20 percent said they are "starving procrastinators, waiting till they are extremely hungry and then eating a big lunch." Eleven percent reported being "front loaders," eating a big breakfast and smaller amounts during lunch. Another 9 percent called themselves "scavengers," sampling candy off other people's desks and eating treats left in the break room. The remaining 20 percent didn't identify themselves as any of these.

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