U.S. labor force packs on pounds, survey finds

CHICAGO The combination of work stress and economic pressures appears to be playing a role in the U.S. labor force's weight gain. Overall, 44% of workers said they have gained weight in their current jobs, up slightly from 43% in 2009, according to a new CareerBuilder survey published Wednesday.

Nearly one-third of workers said that stress contributed to their weight gain at work.

Approximately 28% of employees reported they have gained more than 10 pounds and 12% say they gained more than 20 pounds while in their present positions. Comparing genders, women were more likely to put on weight than men and were more likely to gain a higher amount of pounds. Half of female workers said they have gained weight in their current position, compared with 39% of their male counterparts. As many as 30% of women gained more than 10 pounds compared with 23 percent of men.

"Especially in this economy, it is easier to pick up unhealthy eating habits in the office as workers spend more time on heavier workloads and less time on themselves," stated Rosemary Haefner, VP human resources for CareerBuilder. "Employers know that employees who are healthier and have less stress are more productive and ultimately stay longer in their positions. Because of this, we continue to see employers taking a more proactive role in their staff's health by offering perks such as gym passes, onsite workout facilities, wellness benefits and even contests that promote healthy living."

The survey was conducted from February 10 through March 2, 2010 among more than 4,800 workers.

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