Feeling Unhappy And Gaining Weight? Your Job Could Be The Reason

Unhappiness and weight gain linked to jobs

December is often the month that people will throw their diets away and simply indulge themselves in the delicious food available at Christmas. As such it is understandable, and perhaps even expected, that people will gain some weight over the festive period.

But new research of 1,200 UK professionals from CV-Library has found that weight gain is not something that is caused simply by the Christmas season, but also from work. Almost a third (29.1%) of professionals in the UK admitted that their weight gain was caused by their job.

The reasons for this are pretty easy for anyone working in an office job to see. Half of respondents (50.1%) felt that sitting at their desk all day contributed to their weight gain with the second highest result being unable to fit in time to exercise due to long working days (40.8%).

The final three reasons all feature one thing in common – food. 40.3% of respondents said that their weight gain was caused by snacking at work, perhaps due to colleagues bringing in unhealthy food (28%) and the stress caused by work causing people to eat more (31.2%).

A survey of US workers by Career Builders found that 77% of workers who reported extremely high stress levels also said that they are overweight, providing a link between weight gain and the stress levels of a job. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this has led to a rise in unhappiness in UK workers with three quarters (75.7%) of those who gained weight admitted that it has left them unhappy.

How Can Employers Encourage Weight Loss?

While employers should not implicitly make it a point that their workers need to lose weight, there should be plenty of healthy weight loss options available in the workplace. One of the most obvious, though perhaps most expensive, options is to offer a gym membership. This may be a good idea in theory, but often people do not take up this offer seriously and many may not have time to go to the gym after work.

For those who live closer to their workplace, a cycle to work scheme can have the added benefit of providing exercise while also providing a way to commute to work that is beneficial to the environment. Given that eating unhealthily is likely to be a primary reason for weight gain in the workplace, employers should consider offering healthy snacking and lunch options.

Providing free fruit provides workers with a much healthier way to snack when compared to traditional cakes, sweets and crisps. Lunches could also be looked at to ensure that they are healthy options.

According to the survey from Career Builders, eating lunch at a desk was found to be a prominent reason why workers add on a few pounds, with 65% of those who gained weight eating at their desk compared to 42% who had lost weight.

As such, employers should ensure that there is plenty of seating available in a cafeteria or canteen to encourage workers to eat away from their desk. This will require workers to physically move to another area, which could also encourage social interactions.

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Sarah Jubb
Sarah Jubb

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