Contrary to popular belief, stress is not actually responsible for weight gain in most people. It was widely believed that stress leads to eating more junk food and avoiding exercise, however, a new study has found otherwise. Jane Wardle from University College London led the study in which her team reviewed previously published studies on stress and weight gain. Surprisingly, they found that only a modest association existed between the two.
The study looked at 32 international studies that were conducted in the 1990s and 2000s. The participants’ stress levels were assessed and they were followed anywhere from 1 to 7 years. Some studies, however, were more long term and continued for up to 38 years! The stress varied from work related to general life as a result of major events such as illness or a divorce. Surprisingly, the majority, or 69 percent of the studies found no link between stress and weight gain; only 25% of studies showed an association between weight gain and stress. As for the other 6%, those people actually lost weight as a result of stress. Also interesting to note, is that weight gain was more prevalent in men than women.