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Recession bloats waistlines as well as unemployment rolls

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The combination of work stress and economic pressures appears to be playing a role in the U.S. labor force’s weight gain. Overall, 44% of workers say they have gained weight in their current jobs, up slightly from 43% in 2009, according to a new CareerBuilder survey.

Nearly one-third (32%) of workers say stress contributed to their weight gain at work. Other factors workers cite for contributing to weight gain in the office include:

Sitting at a desk most of the day (49%)

Eating out regularly (25%)

Workplace celebrations, such as potlucks and birthdays (16%)

Skipping meals because of deadlines (14%)

Tale of the tape

Twenty-eight percent of employees report they have gained more than 10 pounds, and 12% say they gained more than 20 pounds while in their present positions.

Comparing genders, women were more likely to put on weight than men and were also likely to gain more weigh. Half of female workers say they have gained weight in their current position, compared to 39% of men. Thirty percent of women gained more than 10 pounds compared to 23% of men.

One of the ways employees can cut back on workplace weight gain is by heading to the gym during lunch hour, but only 9% of employees said they work up a sweat in the middle of the day. Women are slightly more likely than men to work out at lunch.

Half of workers surveyed say they eat out for lunch at least five days a week, making it difficult to control portions and calorie intake. Snacking can also be a slippery slope for those trying to cut back on calories. Almost two-thirds (65%) of employees snack at least once a day, and 25% say they snack twice a day.

Tips for slimming down at work

Want to help your employees fight the battle of the recession bulge? Pass along these tips for managing weight in the workplace:

  • Set an eating schedule for your workday. Planning out all your meals and snacks will help control your hunger. Set up your Outlook calendar to send you alerts when it is time for you to eat something. Then follow through on the reminder.
  • Pack a lunch and snacks. You’re less likely to eat something unhealthy if you bring food from home. You can control portions, take in fewer calories and save money. Consider lower-calorie foods such as canned soups, lean lunch meats, fat-free or reduced calorie chips, celery and carrots, grapes, low-fat yogurt, etc.
  • Find a weight-loss buddy in the office.  Almost a tenth of workers say they have joined a weight-loss program with co-workers. Just as teams make for better work results, they can also improve chances of weight-loss success.
  • Go the extra mile. Especially in this economic environment, every little bit of activity helps. Take the stairs to your floor. Walk over to co-workers instead of calling or e-mailing them. Park a little farther from the front door. Get off the train or bus one stop earlier and walk the rest of the way.


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