Is Your Job Making You Fat?

March 27, 2010 | Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist

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 Is Your Job Making You Fat?
A new study paints a rather grim picture of the American workplace1 in the 21st century. It is full of stressed out people sitting in front of computers getting very little activity. As pink slips are handed out fat-laden junk food is rapidly consumed, even more than the typically stressful day. Once the workers get home they can't wait to crash in front of the TV, too tired to exercise. It is a recipe for weight gain and poor health.

In this study of 2,782 employees at a large manufacturing facility in New York the researchers found that 72 to 75 percent of the employees were overweight or obese, reflecting the national average. Most of the study volunteers were middle-aged, white, married, highly educated (college degree or more), relatively well-paid (earning more than $60,000 a year), with an average of almost 22 years at the company.

More than 65 percent of the employees said they watched two or more hours of television per day. Among those who reported watching two to three hours, 77 percent were more likely to be overweight or obese, and those who watched four or more hours of TV a day increased their odds of obesity by 150 percent, compared to people who watched less than two hours of daily TV.

The company was under high stress, going through drastic restructuring and layoffs (typical for these times). In interviews the employees confided to researchers that they were “stress eating” and burned out from “doing the work of five people,” researchers reported.

Life will always have its stressors. Getting out of a consistent exercise program is one of the worst things you can do for your health – regardless of whatever reason you may be able to put forth. Replacing TV viewing time with exercise may be the best way to keep the weight off as well as preventing serious disease from truly ruining your life.

Referenced Studies

  1. ^ Work Stress and Weight Gain  Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine   Diana Fernandez, et al.

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