One third (29%) of UK professionals believe that their jobs are making them overweight, and the majority of those affected (75%) are unhappy at work, according to a survey by CV Library.
Respondents to the survey of 1,200 employees identified sitting at a desk all day (50.1%), not finding enough time for exercise (48.8%), snacking (40.3%), eating more due to stress (31.2%), and colleagues bringing in unhealthy snacks to share (28%), as reasons for work-related weight gain.
Preethi Daniel from the London Doctor’s clinic, commented that while weight gain and poor fitness at work are legitimate concerns, employers should however be cautious in how they address the issue.
“Weight gain and obesity can be a sensitive topic, and employers need to be really careful in how they approach it to avoid naming and shaming, or alienating people,” she told HR magazine. “It’s far better to focus on the other health benefits of exercise and healthy eating, such as improving mood, helping with joint problems, and feeling more energetic.”
Daniel recommended incentivising healthy choices where appropriate. “We’ve seen that wellbeing programmes in the States, which offer money and prizes to people for losing weight, have been very successful,” she said.
Encouraging employees to implement small changes at work, such as drinking more water, and taking even as little as one minute of exercise per day, can lead to weight loss and boost an individual’s health overall, Daniel added.
According to The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, the UK is the most overweight nation in Western Europe, with 27% of Britons clinically obese, and 36% overweight.