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Build Your Career Office Life

Is Your Job Making You Fat?

Credit: Rostislav_Sedlacek/Shutterstock

Is your job to blame for your expanding waistline? Many workers say yes.

A new report from CareerBuilder found that 56 percent of U.S. employees consider themselves overweight, with 45 percent believing they have packed on extra pounds in their current job.

The research shows that 25 percent of workers say they have gained at least 10 pounds since starting in their present position, with 10 percent saying they are least 20 pounds heavier.

Sitting too much and having too exhausting and stressful of a workload are the top factors employees blame their weight gain on. Specifically, 51 percent of those surveyed said sitting too much all day has contributed to their putting on pounds, with 45 percent saying they are too tired from their work to exercise regularly. In addition, 38 percent say they overeat because of work-related stress, with another 38 percent pointing to having no time to work out before or after work.

Other factors employees say contribute to their weight gain at work include eating out too much, workplace celebrations, the temptations of the office candy jar, pressure to eat food when co-workers bring it in and happy hours. [Looking to get some exercise at work? Here are five ways to get it done]

The study discovered that nearly one-quarter of U.S. workers eat out for lunch at least three times a week, with 12 percent finding food for lunch from a vending machine at least once a week. In addition, 73 percent of employees say they regularly snack throughout the day.

"Employee health is an incredibly important issue for employers, as suboptimal health can negatively impact workplace productivity, efficiency and morale," Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer at CareerBuilder, said in a statement. "Providing employees the tools they need to get and stay healthy, then encouraging their workers to use these benefits, is a surefire way to maximize your talent and encourage employee loyalty." 

Exercise appears to play a big role in whether employees gain or lose weight on the job. The research found that 22 percent of employees who regularly work out at least four days a week lost weight at their present job, compared to just 16 percent of those who regularly work out three or fewer days a week.

The study also shows that 41 percent of workers don't exercise regularly, with nearly half of those having gained weight at their current job.

Some jobs are contributing more to employee weight gain than others. The research revealed that 57 percent of workers in the financial services industry feel like they've put on weight in their job. Additionally, 50 percent of those in the health care, transportation and sales industry say the same. Other industries where at least 37 percent of workers have gained weight include IT, manufacturing, leisure and hospitality and retail.

While many employers are trying to help their workers shed some pounds, the majority of employees aren't taking advantage of what's offered to them. Nearly 30 percent of the employees surveyed said their company provides gym passes, workout facilities or wellness benefits; however, 63 percent of those say they don't use any of those offerings.

The study was based on surveys of 3,420 full-time workers across a range of industries and company sizes in the U.S.

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer who has nearly 15 years' experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.