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Employee Wellness > Insights & Trends

Work (Literally) Weighing You Down? 5 Tips for a Healthier Workday

Employee eats lunch at his desk; many workers say they have recently gained weight at work, and this is one of the reasons they cite.Finding more weighing on you lately than just the usual, uh, work, family, and extracurricular demands? If you’re having a Mom Jeans day more than usual, you’re not alone: A new CareerBuilder study of more than 3,600 full-time workers has found that more than half (55 percent) of workers consider themselves to be overweight, and nearly half — 41 percent — of workers have gained weight at their present jobs.
Just how much weight are we talking? Of those who say the scales are tipping a little higher these days, 59 percent reveal they’ve gained more than 10 pounds, and 30 percent say they’ve gained more than 20 pounds. On the flip side, 16 percent of workers say they’ve lost weight while at their current job.

It probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise that professions involving high stress or long hours behind a desk correlates with a higher percentage of workers gaining weight.

The professions 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)

Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder, points to a combination of poor eating habits on the go and not working out to weight gain trends.

“Two in five workers don’t exercise on a regular basis and one in ten don’t exercise at all. 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.”


Workers say are these are their biggest triggers of their expanding waistlines:
  • 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

Weight gain at work, by the numbers:

  • More than half (54 percent) of workers go out to eat instead of packing a lunch at least once a week, and 24 percent eat out three or more times a week.
  • 70 percent of workers snack during the day.
  • While more than half of workers believe they are overweight, 59 percent say they work out on a regular basis, with 45 percent hitting the gym at least three times a week.
  • Thirty percent say they exercise, but not regularly, and 11 percent don’t exercise at all.
  • Three in ten workers said their companies provide wellness benefits such as workout facilities or gym passes. Of these workers, 36 percent take advantage of them.

Keeping yourself — and your workers — healthy:

Whether it’s your employees who would appreciate some healthy pointers, or you yourself who needs some inspiration as the temptations of summer get into full swing (we’re looking at you, cupcake trucks, happy hours and workplace BBQs), we’ve got you covered: In addition to maintaining healthy eating habits and a steady workout routine during the week, Haefner recommends the following tips to stay fit this summer:

  1. 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, walk over to someone’s desk instead of sending an email – the key is to increase activity throughout the day.
  2. Stay Hydrated. Drinking water not only makes you feel full, it can also help cut down on calories from sugary drinks.
  3. Pack a Lunch. Packing your lunch is an easy way to choose a healthy option and control your portion sizes.
  4. 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.
  5. Keep a Food Journal. It helps you keep track of calories and identify peak snacking times, so you can modify behavior.

  Have you found any other great methods to stay healthy and combat work stress or stagnation?

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.


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