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Studies find that job loss can negatively impact physical, not just mental, health

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(NaturalNews) Most people who have personally experienced a job loss, or know someone who has, understands the emotional toll the unfortunate event can have. However, not many individuals consider the fact that detrimental changes in physical health and job loss also go hand in hand.

Several studies have made this clear, demonstrating that when a person is thrust back into life at home, behaviors may ensue that jeopardize overall health. These findings are in direct contrast to the prevailing thought that just the opposite is true.

In fact, many assume that out-of-work people have more free time to exercise and less money to engage in bad habits like purchase cigarette packs and alcohol. While this is true for some people, who ultimately go on to achieve a weight loss goal or give up cigarettes, there are a great deal who are putting their health in jeopardy after a job loss.

Unemployed gaining weight, not getting adequate sleep

One Bentley University study, for example, determined that those who are out of work developed the mind set that they'd likely not work again and as a result, developed unhealthy habits. The study, which tracked the same people over a long period of time, found that, although there was a decrease in smoking and eating fast food, there was also a decline in physical activity, which led to weight gain. Regarding smoking, while it had decreased, it was discovered that because people were now away from workplace bans and regulations, they still engaged in the habit more freely since they were in their own home.(1)

While many may not eat as much fast food, according to an American Time Use Survey, unemployed people tend to cook more at home. However, instead of making healthy foods, the survey found that they typically make less-balanced meals or eat sugary snacks.(1)

Additionally, a Kaiser Family Foundation/New York Times/CBS News Non-Employed Poll that questioned adults between the ages of 25 and 54 reported the following:

Many of those who are unemployed and able to work report feeling a negative impact on their health and relationships. This group is more likely to say their employment situation is bad rather than good for their physical health (40 percent versus 16 percent), their mental health (40 percent versus 15 percent), their sleep (37 percent versus 8 percent), and their romantic relationships (35 percent versus 15 percent).(2)

How those facing tough economic times can manage their health

With all of this weight gain, increased comfort levels of smoking at home and making unbalanced meals, how then can the unemployed stay healthy?

Today.com contributor Laura T. Coffey asked readers to provide their tips for coping and staying well during difficult times.

When it came to eating better, many people expressed the importance of cooking and growing food at home. One woman from Minnesota thought about her life growing up and turned childhood traditions into current-day reality. "I go back to everything my grandmother knew," she said. "In the summer we plant a garden to cut back on the cost of fresh veggies and I've even learned to can and make my own applesauce, breads and much more. Slowing down and cooking our own food has made a huge change in our family and our finances."(3)

Some created dinner clubs, where people were invited to help cook and provide company for people during difficult times. In other instances, people simply refrained from eating out as frequently and, instead, made healthy meals at home.

People also found that they were more inclined to stay in shape mentally and physically if they always had a tendency to manage finances well. "I have always lived frugally so when I lost my job... I didn't sweat it so much," says a Rhode Island Today.com reader. "It has taught me how much money I really need to live. I have less stress, more exercise."(3)

Clearly, there are many findings showing the health harms that unemployment can bring about, but with the right mind set and proper planning, it's possible to avoid such setbacks and stay healthy.


(1) http://www.nytimes.com

(2) http://kff.org

(3) http://www.today.com

About the author:
A science enthusiast with a keen interest in health nutrition, Antonia has been intensely researching various dieting routines for several years now, weighing their highs and their lows, to bring readers the most interesting info and news in the field. While she is very excited about a high raw diet, she likes to keep a fair and balanced approach towards non-raw methods of food preparation as well. >>> Click here to see more by Antonia

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