Lunchtime work breaks have been shrinking in recent years with the average lunch break in the UK now standing at 22 minutes, according to a survey.
Previous studies have demonstrated an association between long periods of sitting and increased risks of developing obesity and type 2 diabetes.
A poll of 800 employees carried out by not-for-profit group Ukactive and hospitality firm Sodexo has revealed that lunch breaks have reduced by a third since 2012, falling from an average of 33 to 22 minutes.
This was an average figure which means that many people will be having even less than 22 minutes for a lunch break. 22 minutes is a very short period of time for lunch and may encourage people to have unhealthy snack options rather than getting a proper meal.
The survey also found that almost a fifth of workers actually remain at their desks during lunch, with three quarters of survey participants saying they are not physically active during lunchtimes.
Reasons given for missing lunch, include increasing workloads and relentless work demands, while people also said there was limited choice to buy lunch from.
Additionally, only one in five walk or cycle to work, with the rest using cars and trains to get them to work, according to the survey.
Ukactive chief executive Steven Ward said: “These figures are a shocking indictment of modern workplace cultures, where employees increasingly find themselves tied to their desks and screens all day.
“Our research shows staff believe in the benefits of being more physically active but don’t feel they have the time – employers should heed these warnings if they want to encourage their teams to be more productive.”
Exercise has proven benefits in reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes and as this poll reflects, pressures put on us by the modern world are limiting our ability to use our lunch breaks to get outdoors and exercise.

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