HR Strange But True!
May 27, 2010

If you’ve gained weight while in your current job, your job itself may be partially to blame. That’s the findings of a new survey by CareerBuilder.

The survey found that work stress and economic pressures are contributing towards making the U.S. labor force a heavier one. More than 4 in 10 of over 4,800 workers surveyed reported that they have gained weight in their current jobs. Of these, 28 percent have gained more than 10 pounds and 12 percent have gained more than 20 pounds.

Of those that reported a weight gain, 32 percent say that work stress was a contributing factor. Another key factor appears to be the sedentary nature of many jobs—49 percent reported that sitting at a desk most of the day contributed to weight gain in the office.

Of course, eating habits also played a role: 25 percent cited eating out regularly as a contributing factor and 16 percent assigned some blame to workplace celebrations (potlucks, birthdays, etc.).

“Especially in this economy, it is easier to pick up unhealthy eating habits in the office as workers spend more time on heavier workloads and less time on themselves,” CareerBuilder’s vice president of Human Resources, Rosemary Haefner, said in a press release announcing the survey results. “Employers know that employees who are healthier and have less stress are more productive and ultimately stay longer in their positions. Because of this, we continue to see employers taking a more proactive role in their staff’s health by offering perks such as gym passes, onsite workout facilities, wellness benefits and even contests that promote healthy living.”

Heafner also provided advice for “fending off weight gain”:

  • Set an eating schedule--Plan out all your meals and snacks for your workday in order to control your hunger.
  • Pack a lunch and snacks – Food from a ‘brown bag’ lunch is less likely to be unhealthy than ‘eating out’ for lunch. CareerBuilder notes that half of workers surveyed reported “eating out for lunch at least five days a week, making it difficult to control portions and calorie intake.”
  • Find a weight loss buddy– Recruit a coworker in your office to join a weight loss program with you.
  • Go the extra mile— Wile getting some exercise every day is ideal, not everyone can afford go to the gym during their lunch hour. In fact, CareerBuilder found that only 9 percent of respondents did so. But workers could go out of their way to do more walking throughout the course of their day, whether its taking stairs instead of an elevator, walking to a co-workers desk instead of emailing/calling them, or build some walking time into your commute to and from work.



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