More than six in ten (64 percent) Americans that have or had worked in an office environment said that it caused their health and fitness levels to decline.
Not only that, a whopping nine in 10 who have gained weight while working an office job blame their workplace for playing a role.
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 ten Americans (68 percent) say that 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 average American office worker says they gained 12 pounds while working at their desk job.
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 coworkers as a cause for weight gain.
Stress is 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 also identified four main barriers for American office workers in their ability to achieve weight loss, which were 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 that they are too tired or busy to prepare healthy meals to bring to the office.
Another 41 percent say being too tired or stressed to exercise after work was another big reason, 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 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 coworkers.
“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.”
But Americans say there are ways that would help them stave off their work weight, according to the poll.
Having access to healthy, pre-made meals was the top response (48 percent) that would help people manage their work weight better, while 43 percent say that work-sponsored work-out activities or gym access would be beneficial.
“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,” said Sharma. “And for those who don’t live near or have time to go into a Jenny Craig center, we offer our proven program over the phone with our food shipped directly to your door, eliminating many Americans’ struggles to find the time and energy they need to prepare healthy options on their own.”
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.