In the United States, the majority of adults are overweight or obese, increasing their risk for Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.1 Obesity is a major contributor to preventive death in the U.S. and can raise morbidity risks associated with chronic diseases, such as hypertension, stroke, respiratory problems and various cancers.2 Research also shows connections between stress and food. People tend to seek high-calorie, high-fat foods during periods of stress, though in fact, when people are stressed, their bodies store more fat than when they are relaxed.3 While many factors contribute to the nation’s weight challenges, the Stress in America™ survey suggests that stress influences our eating habits.
Many adults report engaging in unhealthy eating behaviors as a result of stress and say that these behaviors can lead to undesirable consequences, such as feeling sluggish or lazy and feeling bad about their bodies.
Thirty-eight percent of adults say they have overeaten or eaten unhealthy foods in the past month because of stress. Half of these adults (49 percent) report engaging in these behaviors weekly or more.