Sedentary Workers Pack on Pounds

A CareerBuilder survey finds 57% of U.S. workers feel they are overweight, up from 55% in 2014.

Additionally, 42% of workers say they’ve gained weight in their present job, up from 39% last year. Twenty-two percent reported gaining more than 10 pounds, while 16% of workers say they’ve lost weight.

When asked what they felt contributed to their weight gain at their current job, 37% of workers said “eating because of stress,” and 43% said they are “too tired from work to exercise.” Sedentary behavior, however, is seen as the leading culprit, in workers’ minds. Fifty-six percent said “sitting at the desk most of the day” contributed to the weight gain at their present job.

More than one in four workers surveyed (27%) have access to employer sponsored wellness benefits, including onsite workout facilities and gym passes, but 63% of this group does not take advantage of them.

Among workers who have lost weight at their current job and who are offered a wellness program and/or gym benefits, 45% said they use them. However, only one-third (34%) of those who have gained weight at their current job reported using these benefits. More than half (52%) of those who have lost weight said they exercise three or more times a week, compared to 37% who have gained weight.

In addition, 51% of workers who reported losing weight at their current jobs say they eat lunch at their desks, while two-thirds (67%) of those who reported losing weight do.

Workers in desk or office-based jobs are more likely to report gaining weight at their present job:

  • Professional & Business Services – 51%;
  • IT – 48%;
  • Financial Services – 45%;
  • Health Care – 45%;
  • Sales – 41%;
  • Leisure & Hospitality – 39%;
  • Manufacturing – 39%; and
  • Retail – 35%.


The survey also found:

  • Women (46%) are more likely to report gaining weight at their present jobs than men (38%);
  • Workers in management roles (43%) are almost equally likely as workers in non-management roles (42%) to report weight gains at their present jobs;
  • Workers in the middle of their careers appear more prone to weight gain than younger or mature workers: Forty-five percent of workers ages 35 to 54 reported gaining weight at their present job, compared to 38% of workers ages 18 to 34 and 39% of workers age 55 or older.


The survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder among 3,105 workers ages 18 and older (employed full-time, not self-employed, non-government) between February 11 and March 6, 2015.