Despite continued warnings about obesity and unhealthy eating habits it appears that the vast majority of the UK’s workforce and home surfers are still eating the wrong foods. Wendy Martinson, nutritionist to this year’s Team GB Athens Olympians has created a web surfing fact sheet to ensure the nation’s surfers are as healthy as possible (available on request).
UK Online recently surveyed customers and staff over their desktop eating habits. When asked, 98% of those surveyed* said they eat breakfast, lunch or dinner at their desk – every day. It was not entirely surprising that when UK Online sent a selection of PC keyboards to Reading Scientific Services Microscopy Laboratory (RSSL) for testing, various types of nasty debris and detritus were found trapped in the depths of the keyboards.
Each of the sample keyboards was taken apart and their debris carefully isolated. Typical particles from each sample were examined by light microscopy or X-ray microanalysis. The findings were that we are not eating enough healthy brain food during our working day. Instead, we are filling ourselves with fatty and unhealthy snacks whilst sitting slumped at our desks.
Unsurprisingly, tea and coffee stains were found on each of the keyboards tested. Other findings included some of the least healthy foods we can consume whilst sitting in one place all day. These included:
- Bread crumbs – likely to have come from the high-street sandwich
- Fatty, dough based food – doughnuts, buns etc
- Fatty, potato based crumbs – from crisps and chips
- Jam/marmalade – from morning toast and the ever popular jam
- Meat – from unknown sources – take-away’s sandwiches and ready
meals suspected as the main culprits
- Sugar and salt crystals
Wendy Martinson, British Olympic Nutritionist commented, ‘Research looking at the debris found in keyboards has shown that many of us are chomping mainly on fatty sandwiches, pasties, pastries, cakes, buns and salty savoury snacks swilled down with tea and coffee while tapping away at the keyboard. These kinds of foods may not be the best choices for our health, waistline or brain power.’
As well as a surprising high amount of unhealthy food taken from the sample keyboards, UK Online also found that desktop hygiene is not an issue most workers concern themselves with. Research earlier this year showed keyboards to be 400 times dirtier than the average toilet seat. However, 80% of respondents to our survey said that they still do NOT wash their hands before eating, irrespective of whether or not they’ve used the bathroom. 57% were also sure that their work toilet seat is cleaner than their desktop – but are still happily typing away on their keyboards as they eat. 59% of those surveyed also claimed to have spilt something over their keyboards in the past and never cleaned it up.
These shocking statistics were also backed up by the RSSL keyboard research which found particles underneath the keys ranging from finger nail clippings to unspecified body hairs and grit to adhesives.
Chris Stening at UK Online commented, “The results of the survey and lab analysis are pretty grim. With the help of BOA nutritionist Wendy Martinson, we have produced a Healthy Desktop Fact Sheet to give the nations PC user’s advice on how they can eat enough of the right foods to stimulate the mind and energise the body. With the new 8Mb service from UK Online people will have even more reason to spend time at their PC’s, we hope that Wendy’s fact sheet helps them do it a bit more healthily.
* Survey compiled from a selection of 500 UK Online staff, customers and agency staff
** Results from a selection of 10 used keyboards from both the home and Office
About UK Online
Consumer British Internet Service Provider (ISP), UK Online (www.ukonline.net) was founded in 1994 and quickly established itself as a prominent player within the ISP marketplace. In 1996 pan-European networking company Easynet acquired UK Online, as a strategic move into the consumer ISP market.
UK Online provides fast, reliable Internet access to the UK. It combines a high quality service with a genuine concern to provide safe, secure use of the Internet. All UK Online Internet accounts have access to free spam filtering and parental control software ChildCheck, so UK Online makes the Internet a safe, hassle-free educational and enjoyable experience for everyone in the family.
UK Online was the first ISP in the UK to offer an Internet service designed for both families and novice users. It was the first to enable web-based email for its customers and was also first to provide 100% coverage of the UK at local rates with unlimited free webspace for personal sites. UK Online Broadband 8000 is available in selected areas now, and will be available to more than 4.4 million homes across the UK by early 2005.
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