A national survey of 3,600 workers, conducted by CareerBuilder, finds that workers in professions that involve high stress levels or long hours behind a desk had a higher percentage of workers who are putting on pounds. Of those workers who say they've gained weight, 59 percent gained over 10 pounds and 30 percent gained over 20 pounds.
Conversely, 16 percent of all workers say they've lost weight while at their current job.
“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. Two in five workers don’t exercise on a regular basis and one in 10 don’t exercise at all,” said Rosemary Haefner , vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder www.careerbuilder.com. “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.”
Among those workers most likely to report weight gain:
- Administrative assistant (69 percent)
- Engineer (56 percent)
- Teacher/instructor K-12 (51 percent)
- Nurse practitioner or physician's assistant (51 percent)
- IT manager/network administrator (51 percent)
- Attorney/judge/ legal professional (48 percent)
- Machine operator/assembly/production worker (45 percent)
- Scientist, biological/physical/social (39 percent)
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 percent
- Eating because of stress – 35 percent
- Eating out regularly – 26 percent
- The temptation of the office candy jar – 17 percent
- Having to skip meals because of time constraints – 17 percent
- Workplace celebrations (potlucks, birthdays) – 17 percent
- Pressure to eat food co-workers bring in – 9 percent
- Happy hours – 4 percent
Controlling portions and calorie counts can be a challenge if most of your food intake during the work day is from takeout. Over half (54 percent) of workers go out to eat instead of packing a lunch at least once a week, and a quarter (24 percent) eat out three or more times a week. Eight percent say they eat lunch out of the vending machine at least once a week, while 70 percent of workers snack during the day.
While over half of workers feel they are overweight, three in five (59 percent) say they work out on a regular basis, with 45 percent hitting the gym at least three times a week. Forty-two percent of workers get their workout in after clocking out for the day, compared to 16 percent working out before going to the office and 8 percent exercising during lunch. Thirty percent say they exercise, but not regularly, and 11 percent 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 percent take advantage of them.
Tips for Staying Fit
In addition to maintaining a healthy diet and steady workout routine during the workweek, Haefner recommends the following tips to stay fit this summer:
- Take walks - Get off the bus or train at an earlier stop and walk the remaining distance. Take the stairs at work, go for a stroll on your lunch hour or walk over to someone’s desk instead of sending an email. The key is to increase activity throughout the day.
- Stay hydrated – Drinking water not only makes you feel full, it can also help cut down on calories from sugary drinks.
- Pack a lunch – Packing your lunch is an easy way to choose a healthy option and control your portion sizes.
- Try fruit or veggies – Keep some of your favorite healthy snacks in the break room refrigerator so you’ll be less tempted to go to the vending machine.
- Keep a food journal – It helps you keep track of calories and identify peak snacking times, so you can modify behavior.