Description of factors preventing teleworkers from following a healthy diet and having healthy eating habits

Plenty of factors could prevent teleworkers from following a healthy diet. Personal choices and lifestyle, work requirements, and time management in regards to family and other social responsibilities could all affect healthy eating.

Stress is a factor directly linked to eating patterns 10. Stress places a greater demand on the body for oxygen, energy, and nutrients, as it is found to increase the body’s metabolic needs, along with the use and excretion of many nutrients. Stress creates a chain reaction of behaviours that could negatively impact eating habits, leading to health issues in the long term. With chronic stress, the body over-produces the hormone cortisol that may cause cravings, especially for foods high in sugar, fat, and calories, which may then result in weight gain. People experiencing chronic stress are found craving comforting foods, such as highly processed snacks or sweets that have high fat and calorie-content, but are low in nutrients. Contrary, during acute stress, the hormone adrenaline suppresses the appetite. Finally, those feeling stress may lack the time and/or motivation to prepare nutritious, balanced meals, or may skip or forget to eat meals. 

The inability to ‘‘switch-off’’, a known phenomenon amongst teleworkers, could be another factor leading to an unhealthy diet. Having a tight daily schedule, undefined working breaks, and blurred boundaries regarding working hours could affect eating habits. These working conditions, apart from creating stress that is addressed above, could possibly result in lack of time and motivation to engage with healthy eating. It is worth mentioning that the most frequently reported barrier to healthy eating is lack of time 11. Adopting healthy eating habits may not be considered a priority when comparing it with workload and other daily duties e.g., regarding personal life, family etc., and taking into consideration time constraints. Ready-to-eat meals and convenience foods (takeaway or pre-packaged) and fast food offer convenience as they require minimal preparation time and are highly tasty. It is therefore reasonable to assume that such foods are often preferred among people who experience time scarcity.




Stress and Health. Harvard T.H. CHAN. School of Public Health.  [Available from: ] (Accessed: November 10, 2023).


Escoto KH, Laska MN, Larson N, Neumark-Sztainer D, Hannan PJ. Work hours and perceived time barriers to healthful eating among young adults. Am J Health Behav. 2012;36(6):786-96.