Teachers, Engineers and Scientists Among Most Likely to Gain Weight on the Job, CareerBuilder Survey Finds

May 30, 2013, 04:00 ET from CareerBuilder

CHICAGO, May 30, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- A new CareerBuilder study has found that more than half (55 percent) of workers consider themselves to be overweight, and 41 percent have gained weight at their present jobs. Of those 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.

The national survey, which was conducted online by Harris Interactive© from February 11 to March 6, 2013, included more than 3,600 full-time workers. 

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 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)

"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 ten don't exercise at all," 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 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

Lunch and Snack Habits
Controlling portions and calorie counts can be a challenge if most of your food intake during the workday 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.

Exercise Habits
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 ten 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, 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.

Survey Methodology
This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Interactive© on behalf of CareerBuilder among 3,690 workers (employed full-time, not self-employed, non-government) between February 11 and March 6, 2013 (percentages for some questions are based on a subset, based on their responses to certain questions). With a pure probability sample of 3,690 one could say with a 95 percent probability that the overall results have a sampling error of +/- 1.61 percentage points. Sampling error for data from sub-samples is higher and varies.

About CareerBuilder®
CareerBuilder is the global leader in human capital solutions, helping companies target and attract great talent. Its online career site, CareerBuilder.com®, is the largest in the United States with more than 24 million unique visitors, 1 million jobs and 50 million resumes. CareerBuilder works with the world's top employers, providing resources for everything from employment branding and talent and compensation intelligence to recruitment solutions. More than 10,000 websites, including 140 newspapers and broadband portals such as MSN and AOL, feature CareerBuilder's proprietary job search technology on their career sites. Owned by Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE: GCI), Tribune Company and The McClatchy Company (NYSE: MNI), CareerBuilder and its subsidiaries operate in the United States, Europe, South America, Canada and Asia. For more information, visit www.careerbuilder.com

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Jennifer Grasz
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Jennifer.Grasz@careerbuilder.com                          
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SOURCE CareerBuilder

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