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Walking While Eating Boosts Obesity Risk

Update Date: Aug 20, 2015 11:14 PM EDT

Eating "on the go" could increase the risk of obesity, according to a new study.

New research reveals that people consumed more food walking around than doing other activities like watching television or talking to a friend.

The latest study involved 60 female participants who were asked to eat cereal bars under different conditions.

Study results revealed that dieters ate significantly more snacks during a subsequent taste test if they had walked around during the first have of the experiment. Further analysis revealed that participants assigned to walk ate five times more chocolate than those under different conditions.

"Eating on the go may make dieters overeat later on in the day," lead author Professor Jane Ogden from the University of Surrey said in a news release.

"This may be because walking is a powerful form of distraction which disrupts our ability to process the impact eating has on our hunger. Or it may be because walking, even just around a corridor, can be regarded as a form of exercise which justifies overeating later on as a form of reward," she added.

"Even though walking had the most impact, any form of distraction, including eating at our desks can lead to weight gain. When we don't fully concentrate on our meals and the process of taking in food, we fall into a trap of mindless eating where we don't track or recognize the food that has just been consumed," Ogden concluded.

The findings are published in the Journal of Health Psychology.

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