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Full Time Job—Full-Size Fashions?

May 06, 2015 02:00PM ● By Cate Reynolds
Careerbuilder.com just published the results of their annual survey, conducted on their behalf by Harris Poll. This year’s poll, dealing with stress and weight gain in the workplace, sampled more than 3,000 U.S.A. workers across industries and company sizes.

Fifty-seven percent of U.S. workers consider themselves overweight (up from 55 percent in 2014). Additionally, 42 percent say they have gained weight in their present job (up from 39 percent last year)—22 percent admit they have gained 10 pounds or more.

Most interestingly, the survey revealed a strong correlation between job stress levels and overweight workers. Fewer than half of the workers (47 percent) with extremely low stress levels feel they are overweight compared to 70 percent of workers with extremely high stress levels. Workers with very high on-the-job stress were 49 percent more likely to say they were overweight than those with low stress jobs.

It’s not unfair to refer to the workplace as an enabler when it comes to the bulge battle. Easy access fast food franchises convenient to every office building in America (not a coincidence), even easier access to vending machines in the same building, “lunches” distractingly scarfed at your desk while you work, and, of course, 3 p.m. slumps that only candy can alleviate. And don’t forget the ever-present stress of crushing deadlines, quotas, and bottom lines, uncooperative co-workers, and mercurial managers.

When asked how the stress at work translates to their weight gain, 37 percent of the participants said they eat because of stress; 43 percent said they were too tired from work to exercise. But 56 percent were united in the belief that sedentary behavior (i.e. sitting at a desk all day) was the biggest culprit.

Age was also a factor—with those in the middle of their careers most apt to expand their own middles.

--Sarah Hagerty
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