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The hidden health dangers of desk dinning

mansleeping8251415.jpgDo you sometimes eat your lunch at your desk?If you do you are not alone. According to the American Dietetic Association and ConAgra Foods Foundation, about 70% of Americans eat at their desks several times a week.We get busy, we know we need to eat, so we combine working with eating and figure that eating at our desks is a good way to multi task and save time.But did you know that there are hidden health dangers to desk dinning?Spending your lunch hour in front of your computer brings with it a number of issues.It should not come as a surprise that your desk at work was not designed to also serve as a dining table.But could it really be dangerous?The answer is, yes.These hidden health dangers of dinning at your desk are issues that you need to make yourself aware of.

One of the biggest health risks to eating at your desk is that your primary focus is not on eating, but instead you are focused on the tasks that you must do as part of your work.Studies have overwhelmingly shown that when you are distracted, it becomes very easy to overeat (it is for this reason that eating in front of the TV is cautioned against).Eating at your desk also translates into more time where you are just sitting dormant rather than moving around and getting much needed exercise.You need your lunch hour to get up from your desk, give your eyes and muscles a break, and to do something more active for a little whole (even if it is just taking a short walk).

The next biggest health danger of desk dinning is that your desk can very easily be a feeding ground for bacteria.First of all, if you are eating at your desk and your focus is not on your food, you will take longer to eat.The longer you take to eat the more dangerous the food temperature levels of your lunch become.Food temperature is vital to food safety as room-temperature foods (especially meats) create the perfect growing environment for bacteria.And even if you do eat your lunch quickly, there are still bacteria that make desk dinning unappetizing.According to Charles Gerba, PhD, a professor of environmental microbiology at the University of Arizona in Tucson, "The desk, in terms of bacteria, is 400 times more dirty than your toilet."People just don't think to thoroughly clean their desktops because there may not be debris that are obvious to the naked eye.But your phone, desktop and mouse can easily be the dirtiest places in the whole office.

Just because there are hidden health dangers to eating at your workstation, doesn't mean that eating at work is a bad idea period, or that you are going to get sick if you snack at work.There are a number of very practical things that you can do to make desk dinning safer and healthier. First, pay attention to what you are putting into your mouth as you are sitting at your desk.Think about where your food as been, how long it has been sitting un-refrigerated, how big of a portion you are eating, and how long it has been since you last washed your hands.Bring your own healthy food from home.It will save you money and provide greater opportunities to be healthy and avoid the temptation to pick up fatty fast food.Try taking a walk while eating your lunch.If you're all about multi-tasking, this is a great way to get healthy eating and exercise in at the same time.If you insist on eating at your desk, disinfect your desktop first or use a placemat.

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