Houston, Washington DC Top Cities For Worker Weight Gain

Over a quarter of American employees have access to employer-sponsored wellness benefits, but 63 percent don't take advantage of them, according to new survey.

More than half (56 percent) of the nation’s workforce believe they are overweight, and 45 percent believe they’ve gained weight at their present job, on par with last year, according to a new survey from CareerBuilder. A quarter of all workers said they gained more than 10 pounds at their current job; 1 in 10 gained more than 20 pounds.

worker wellness
Credit: Creatas Images

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

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

“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.”

Weight And Where You Work

Exercise and diet impact your health – but as it turns out, so does your city and industry. CareerBuilder research ranked major U.S. cities with the highest percentage of workers who say they have gained weight at their present job.

  1. Houston (57 percent)
  2. Washington D.C. (50 percent)
  3. Dallas (47 percent)
  4. Boston (47 percent)
  5. Los Angeles (47 percent)
  6. Atlanta (44 percent)
  7. Miami (42 percent)
  8. New York (42 percent)
  9. Chicago (42 percent)
  10. Philadelphia (41 percent)

Those working in financial services may have more of an uphill battle with their weight; 57 percent of workers in that industry feel they have gained weight at their job, followed by healthcare (50 percent), transportation (50 percent), sales (50 percent), IT (44 percent), manufacturing (43 percent), leisure and hospitality (42 percent), and retail (37 percent).

Diet And Exercise Habits

Despite more than a third of workers who have gained weight at their present jobs saying they’re too tired or don’t have time to exercise, the majority of U.S. workers (59 percent) say they exercise on a regular basis. Workers in the West (67 percent) are the most likely to say this, followed by workers in the South (60 percent), the Northeast (57 percent), and the Midwest (53 percent).

But what does “on a regular basis” mean to Americans, and how much exercise is actually helping them lose weight? Three in ten (29 percent) regularly work out 3 or fewer days a week, and 29 percent regularly work out 4 or more days a week. Consistency is key – 22 percent of U.S. workers who regularly work out 4 or more days a week say they lost weight at their present job, compared to 16 percent of those who regularly work out 3 or fewer days a week.

Forty-one percent of workers don’t work out regularly or at all, and 47 percent of this group say they gained weight at their current job.

When it comes to diet, a quarter of U.S. workers (24 percent) eat out at least three times per week for lunch instead of packing their lunch. Twelve percent of workers find their grub from the vending machine at least once a week. Workers are then taking their meals back to their desks – 56 percent eat from their work station.

Lunch isn’t the only time the U.S. workforce is eating. Workers are munching away most of the day – 73 percent of workers snack on the job. Seventy-seven percent of women snack during the day, compared to 69 percent of men. Thirty-five to 44 year olds may also have a full snack drawer – 79 percent of this group snacks at work, more than 18-24 year olds (66 percent), 25-34 year olds (75 percent), and those over 45 (72 percent).

Workplace Wellness

Some employers are stepping in to help their employees get fit, but are employees using these tools? Twenty-eight percent of employees say their company provides gym passes, workout facilities, or wellness benefits, but 63 percent of this group don’t take advantage of them. Sixty-four percent of workers say their employers do not offer wellness benefits, but if offered, 42 percent believe they would take advantage of them.