4 in 10 workers have gained weight at present job: Survey

Desk jobs, stress eating top causes
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 05/31/2013

More than one-half (55 per cent) of workers in the United States consider themselves to be overweight, and 41 per cent have gained weight at their present jobs, according to a survey by CareerBuilder.

Of those who say they’ve gained weight, 59 per cent gained more than 10 pounds and 30 per cent gained more than 20 pounds. Conversely, 16 per cent of all workers say they’ve lost weight while at their current job, found the survey of 3,600 workers in the U.S.

Professions that often involve high stress levels or long hours behind a desk had a higher percentage of workers putting on extra pounds. Among those most likely to report weight gain:

• administrative assistant (69 per cent)
• engineer (56 per cent)
• teacher (51 per cent)
• nurse practitioner, physician’s assistant (51 per cent)
• IT manager, network administrator (51 per cent)
• attorney, judge, legal professional (48 per cent)
• machine operator, assembly, production worker (45 per cent)
• scientist, biological/physical/social (39 per cent).

“Weight gain at work often comes from a combination of poor eating habits when you’re on the go and not being able to fit a workout into a busy schedule," said Rosemary Haefner, vice-president of human resources at CareerBuilder. “Whether it’s daily walks with a co-worker or taking advantage of company wellness benefits, it’s important to find a way to stay active.”

Causes of weight gain

Sedentary roles, readily-available junk food and time constraints that lead to unhealthy eating habits can make it tough to stay fit. Workers cited the following causes for expanding waistlines:

• Sitting at my desk most of the day (56 per cent)
• Eating because of stress (35 per cent)
• Eating out regularly (26 per cent)
• The temptation of the office candy jar (17 per cent)
• Having to skip meals because of time constraints (17 per cent)
• Workplace celebrations (potlucks, birthdays) (17 per cent)
• Pressure to eat food co-workers bring in (nine per cent)
• Happy hours (four per cent).

Lunch and snack habits

One-half (54 per cent) of workers go out to eat instead of packing a lunch at least once a week, and one-quarter (24 per cent) eat out three or more times a week. Eight per cent say they eat lunch out of the vending machine at least once a week, while 70 per cent of workers snack during the day.

Exercise habits

While more than one-half of workers feel they are overweight, three in five (59 per cent) said they work out on a regular basis, with 45 per cent hitting the gym at least three times a week. Forty-two per cent of workers get their workout in after clocking out for the day, compared to 16 per cent working out before going to the office and eight per cent exercising during lunch. Thirty per cent said they exercise, but not regularly, and 11 per cent don’t exercise at all.

Three in 10 workers said their companies provide wellness benefits such as workout facilities or gym passes. Of these workers, 36 per cent take advantage of them.

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