Thursday, April 24, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Is your job helping you pack on the pounds?

People stuck behind a desk all day, or whose jobs are extraordinarily stressful, tend to fare worse in packing on the pounds. (SHNS illustration by Wes Booher / The Toledo Blade)

By Tyrel Linkhorn
Toledo Blade

More than half of U.S. workers consider themselves overweight, and 41 percent of those people say they have gained at least some of that excess at their current gig, a study from CareerBuilder found.

People stuck behind a desk all day, or whose jobs are extraordinarily stressful, tend to fare worse in packing on the pounds.

“Work can be a precarious place for one’s personal health, especially when you’re sitting behind your desk most of the day, stressed out and eating irregularly, or eating fast food regularly,” said Ryan Hunt, a spokesman for CareerBuilder, the largest U.S. online employment company.

The survey singled out administrative assistants as the job most likely to lead to weight gain, with 69 percent of respondents in that field reporting they had added pounds.

Other professions likely to lead to weight gain, according to the study, were engineer, teacher, nurse practitioner and IT manager. The survey, conducted by Harris Interactive this spring, included about 3,700 full-time workers across the United States.

Kinsy McNamee, a registered dietitian with ProMedica, said people who are looking to get healthier often cite their jobs as a stumbling block. “People who have difficult work schedules, it makes it more challenging,” McNamee said. “It doesn’t mean it’s impossible, but it has to be a priority to make the time.”

One easy thing workers can do to help their cause is cut down on dining out. The survey found that 54 percent of workers go out to eat at least once a week, while 24 percent go out three times a week or more. A full 70 percent say they snack through the day.

McNamee said it is extremely difficult to make healthy choices when dining out.

Part of that is because people are often tempted by less-healthy options, but even those who try to make the best choice can stumble.

“Bringing your food from home is not only helpful for your wallet, but also your waistline, because you do have that control over how much salt and fat you’re adding to things,” McNamee said. “It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate. A lunch-meat sandwich, an apple and a yogurt isn’t something that takes more than five minutes to make in the morning.”

For those with desk jobs, it’s good to get up and move around occasionally. Even standing at your desk, if possible, can help.

“You’re burning more calories when you’re standing,” McNamee said. “Even just small movements that build up throughout the day help with burning calories.”

Last year, ProMedica installed about 400 workstations that allowed employees to sit or stand to do their work. The reception has been positive, officials said.

The CareerBuilder survey found that 30 percent of workers said their company offers some type of wellness benefit, such as a workout room or gym membership.

But only about a third of those employees take advantage of them, the survey said.

CareerBuilder found some jobs that seemed to help with weight loss. Among them: retail sales, marketing and public relations, and food service.

Scripps Howard News Service

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