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Let Them Eat Cake: Why Workers Are Gaining Weight

Weight gain at the workplaceYour co-worker just made a fresh batch of snickerdoodle cookies. The boss treated everyone to ice cream for hitting their monthly numbers. It’s Bagel Fridays. It’s Bagel Mondays. It’s a holiday/birthday/anniversary/enter other carb-inducing occasion here, set off by a giant cake. Let’s face it: There are many temptations scattered around the workplace at any given time–which doesn’t make it easy for workers who are trying to lose a few pounds–or simply maintain a healthy lifestyle. According to a survey of 5,772 U.S. workers, conducted by Harris Interactive© on behalf of CareerBuilder, 44 percent of workers admit they’ve gained weight at their current job. Nearly half of these workers attribute their weight gain to food in the office in some form or another. These findings are on par with last year’s findings about workplace weight gain, which is to say, the situation doesn’t appear to be improving.

How much weight are we putting on?

Twenty-six percent of workers say they’ve gained more than 10 pounds at their current job, and 14 percent say they’ve gained more than 20 pounds. Some workers are staying strong amid the stacks of doughnuts and cupcakes surrounding them, however: 16 percent said they have actually lost weight since they started at their current job.

Which careers are worst for our waistlines?

Some occupations–often, those tied to sedentary or high-stress work, appear to have a higher incidence of reported weight gain. Among them:

  • Travel Agent
  • Attorney/Judge
  • Social Worker
  • Teacher
  • Artist/Designer/Architect
  • Administrative Assistant
  • Physician
  • Protective Services (Police; Firefighter)
  • Marketing/Public Relations Professional
  • Information Technology Professional

How workers are satiating those 9 to 5 cravings

If you or your employees are working through lunch and barely crawling out of your desk chair during the day for a drink of water, you’re not alone: More than half of workers (54 percent) attributed their weight gain to sitting at their desk most of the day, and roughly the same percentage (56 percent) said they eat their lunch there, too.

On the flip side, some workers aren’t staying at their desks–but instead leaving the office (and often opting for unhealthy choices). When asked how often they eat out at work for lunch, 53 percent of workers said they do so at least once a week, 23 percent at least three times a week and 11 percent at least five times a week.

Snacking can also be a contributor to those extra calories–10 percent of workers said they eat lunch out of the vending machine at least once a week, and 71 percent said they snack during the workday.

What else is contributing to our expanding waistlines?

  • Eating because of stress: 37 percent
  • Eating out regularly: 23 percent
  • Having to skip meals because of time constraints: 19 percent
  • Workplace celebrations (potlucks, birthdays):  18 percent
  • The temptation of the office candy jar:  16 percent
  • Pressure to eat food co-workers bring in: 10 percent

Exercise: Necessity or just a dream?

When it comes to exercise routines, while 59 percent of workers said they exercise regularly, one in ten workers said they don’t exercise at all. Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder, says that to reinforce healthy habits and make exercise more convenient for workers, more and more companies are implementing healthy living initiatives in the workplace:

 “Twenty-eight percent of companies provide gym passes, workout facilities or wellness benefits for their employees, but only 10 percent of workers say they take advantage of the benefit. It’s important to tap into those resources to stay healthy and energized and potentially more productive.”


Smarter office eating habits

Even if you don’t want to get involved in your employees’ battle for health, it’s smart to have available resources for employees should they reach out to you. In addition to maintaining a regular workout routine throughout the workweek, Haefner recommends the following tips for employees trying to push away the extra pounds this summer (or just adopt healthier habits):

  1. Take more steps throughout the day. Take the stairs instead of the elevator or stop by a co-worker’s desk instead of sending an email. Get off at an earlier train stop or bus stop so you can walk part of the way to the office.
  2. Snack healthy. Snacking can seem innocent when done in small bits and pieces, but the extra calories will start to add up quickly. Keep plenty of veggies and fruits in the office fridge so you have a healthier choice on hand.
  3. Pack your lunch. Bringing your lunch to work helps you better control your portions and also saves you money.
  4. Choose water. Drink water throughout the day instead of caffeinated drinks or juices. This helps make you feel fuller faster, and cuts down on the calories.
  5. Sneak in some exercise. Take daily walks with a co-worker, replace your chair with an exercise ball for part of the day, and keep free weights at your desk–all quick and easy solutions to help stay fit and trim.

What are your best tips for staying healthy despite a sometimes sedentary or stressful work life?

Amy K. McDonnell

About Amy K. McDonnell

Originally hailing from Ohio, Amy is the editorial manager on the content services team and has been with both CareerBuilder and the city of Chicago for nearly a decade. She writes on a range of recruitment topics on The Hiring Site, striving to bring a dose of clarity and humor to sometimes complicated issues around employee attraction, engagement and retention. When she's not working, Amy spends as much time as possible reading, pretending to be a chef, writing short stories, eating Nutella out of the jar, waiting for CTA buses and trains, going to see her favorite bands live, and spending time with people who inspire and challenge her.
3 comments
alstairfederer
alstairfederer

According to research more number of workers is gaining weight during their current job, these are basically caused due to less physical work and more calories in their diet plans, as an IT professional I realize that I have much weight gain in my current job profile as compare to my earlier life.

 http://redifininghealth.blogspot.in/

 

melito
melito

hi my name is melito bruno jr. and i'm 15years old i'm looking for a job so can you hire me please so i can get a job

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