New research from University College London has found that long-term stress can cause weight gain, and even obesity.
To complete the research, scientists analysed cortisol levels (the hormone produced when stressed) of 2,500 men and women at regularly intervals over four years using hair samples.
The study, published in Obesity, found that higher levels of cortisol equalled larger waist circumference, and a higher BMI.
“These results provide consistent evidence that chronic stress is associated with higher levels of obesity” said lead researcher, Sarah Jackson.
Their findings support previous research that suggest high levels of stress can encourage unhealthy habits. Similarly, other previous reserach has found that when your body is in a state of of chronic stress it is less productive at converting food to energy, and instead stores it as fat.
While it is unknown which of these factors is the driving force, it is clear that long-term stress is not healthy for your mind, or your body.