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Workplace habits survey: over half of U.S. workers think they are overweight and blame sedentary careers


May 23, 2017
By Canadian Vending

Chicago and Atlanta – A new survey from CareerBuilder provides insights into the habits and beliefs of U.S. employees and looks at what workplaces are doing to help employees improve their health.

More than half of the U.S. workers believe they are overweight and 45 per cent believe they’ve gained weight at their present job, figures that are on par with last year’s findings, CareerBuilder said in a news release.

The survey was conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder from Feb. 16 to March 9, 2017, among a representative sample of 3,420 full-time workers across industries and company sizes in the U.S, including 3,215 in the private sector. It offers a number of insights into worker behaviour.

Twenty-five per cent of all workers said they gained more than 10 pounds at their current job, with 10 per cent gaining more than 20 pounds.

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Sedentary careers, stress-related eating and workplace weariness can all deter workers from a healthy lifestyle. When surveyed about what they think contributes to weight gain at work, employees who have gained weight said:

  • Sitting at a desk most of the day (51 per cent)
  • Too tired from work to exercise (45 per cent)
  • Eating because of stress (38 per cent)
  • No time to exercise before or after work (38 per cent)
  • Eating out regularly (24 per cent)
  • Having to skip meals because of time constraints (19 per cent)
  • Workplace celebrations (18 per cent)
  • The temptation of the office candy jar (16 per cent)
  • Pressure to eat food co-workers bring in (8 per cent)
  • Happy hours (4 per cent)

“Employee health is an incredibly important issue for employers, as suboptimal health can negatively impact workplace productivity, efficiency and morale,” said Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer at CareerBuilder. “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.”

A quarter of U.S. workers eat out at least three times per week for lunch instead of packing their lunch. Twelve per cent of workers use a vending machine at least once a week. Workers are then taking their meals back to their desks: 56 per cent eat from their workstation.

Workers eat throughout the day, the survey found, with 73 per cent of workers snacking on the job. Seventy-seven per cent of women snack during the day, compared to 69 per cent of men.

The survey gives an at-work snacking breakdown based on age: 35- to 44-year-olds (79 per cent); 25- to 34-year-olds (75 per cent); those over 45 (72 per cent) and 18 to 24-year-olds (66 per cent). 

Fifty-seven per cent of financial sector workers feel they have gained weight at their job, followed by health care (50 per cent), transportation (50 per cent), sales (50 per cent), IT (44 per cent), manufacturing (43 per cent), leisure and hospitality (42 per cent) and retail (37 per cent).

Some employers are stepping in to help their employees get fit, but are employees using these tools? About one-third of employees say their company provides gym passes, workout facilities or wellness benefits, but many don’t take advantage of them. Sixty-four percent of workers say their employers do not offer wellness benefits, but if offered, 42 per cent believe they would take advantage of them.