The Top 10 Reasons Americans Gain Weight at Work

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A new study of 2,000 Americans, conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Jenny Craig, revealed quite a bit about how work and work stress can affect our health. (Photo by Gesina Kunkel on Unsplash)

The average American office worker says they gained 12 pounds while working at their desk job, according to new research.

Not only that, but a whopping nine in 10 who gained weight while working an office job blame their workplace for playing a role.

More than six in 10 (64 percent) Americans who have worked in an office environment said that it caused their health and fitness levels to decline.

A new study of 2,000 Americans, conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Jenny Craig, revealed quite a bit about how work and work stress can affect our health.

According to the poll, nearly seven in 10 (68 percent) say they practice unhealthy habits at work. More than 65 percent of them agree that their job is the biggest reason why they struggle with their weight.

The survey uncovered that the most common unhealthy habit of office workers is mindlessly snacking at their desk (51 percent), closely followed by sitting at a desk for hours on end (48 percent).

Over one in three (35 percent) also point to birthday celebrations with cake for co-workers as a cause for weight gain.

Stress is also a factor when it comes to weight gain in the workplace. In fact, 68 percent of office workers say the stress of their job has contributed to their weight gain, with 61 percent saying they tend to eat more unhealthy foods when they are stressed at work.

The study identified four main barriers for American office workers in their ability to achieve weight loss. These were found to be stress, lack of time to prep and plan, cravings and will power.

And it’s not just at the office that our habits are affected — 42 percent of Americans say that ordering takeout because they’re too tired or busy to cook after work was a big reason for their weight gain, with the average American opting for takeout five times a week.

One-third cite being too tired or too busy to prepare healthy meals to bring to the office.

Another 41 percent say being too tired or stressed to exercise after work contributed to their weight gain, with the average American polled saying they end up skipping four planned workouts a week because of work.

Additionally, half of Americans who work in an office feel pressure to attend post-work happy hour with colleagues, out of a fear of missing out on networking or team bonding. And more than half feel they will appear “uncool” if they skip going out for lunch or happy hour drinks with co-workers.

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“As Americans spend so much time in the workplace, that environment plays a large role in peoples’ lives. Work-related stress, and factors such as social pressure and the prevalence of unhealthy food, are not only contributing to weight gain, but impacting our overall health,” said Monty Sharma, CEO of Jenny Craig.

“With so many Americans pointing to their job as a factor in their struggle with weight, it is more critical than ever for companies to be aware that their employees need healthier conditions and should provide access to healthy, premade meals.”

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But Americans say there are ways that would help them stave off their work weight, according to the poll.

Having access to healthy, premade meals was the top response (48 percent), while 43 percent say that work-sponsored work-out activities or gym access would be beneficial for managing their work weight.

Interestingly, coming into the office every single day tends to weigh on us, as 42 percent say having more flexible hours and the ability to work remotely would help them avoid work-related weight gain.

Sharma said, “We help those looking to improve their health through weight loss with personalized, one-on-one support to build healthy habits and delicious, ready-made food that is nutritionally balanced.”

TOP 10 REASONS AMERICANS GAIN WEIGHT AT WORK

  1. Snacking at my desk 51%
  2. Sitting at my desk all day 48%
  3. Ordering take-out or fast food because I’m too tired or busy to cook after work 42%
  4. Being too tired to exercise before/after/during work 41%
  5. Regularly eating out for lunch 39%
  6. Being too tired/busy to prepare and bring healthy food from home 35%
  7. Cake for coworker’s birthday 35%
  8. Working long hours/shifts 34%
  9. High stress 33%
  10. A co-worker/customer/vendor bringing in unhealthy food 33%
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WHAT AMERICANS SAY WOULD HELP THEM AVOID WORK-RELATED WEIGHT GAIN

  1. Having access to healthy, premade meals 48%
  2. Work-sponsored work-out activities/gym access 43%
  3. Have a more flexible work schedule/hours 42%
  4. Ability to work remotely 38%
  5. Employer providing other desk options (such as standing desks) 34%
  6. Employer/employees stopped bringing in/providing food 32%
  7. Less work travel 23%
  8. Less of a commute 23%

>> Download the video & infographic for this research story <<

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