Not entirely shocking were the jobs that ranked at the top of the list: truck drivers, and transportation and material-moving employes (taxi drivers, railroad conductors, parking lot attendants, etc). Other jobs that had higher rates of obesity included protective services, cleaning and building-service workers, mechanics and repair workers, people working in administrative and clerical positions, people working in sales, and managers or executives. Some factors that were associated with higher rates of obesity were older age, being male and having less education (compared to workers with a college degree).
11 Jobs That Cause You to Gain Weight
Job positions that showed the lowest rates of obesity were nurses, lawyers, judges, food-service employees, post-secondary teachers, architects, engineers, scientists (particularly those in natural sciences, social science or computer science), and "health-diagnostics" jobs, such as dentists, physicians, optometrists and veterinarians.
What Factors Were Considered?
The study looked at 28 occupation sets and gathered data via a telephone health survey conducted every other year between 2003 and 2009.
The scientists behind the study looked at demographic information, levels of physical activity on the job, levels of physical activity during leisure time, the numbers of vegetables and fruits eaten by the employees, and levels of smoking. The study involved 37,626 participants from ages 18 to 65 who worked in Washington state. About one-fourth of the group was classified as obese with a Body Mass Index of 30 or above, which falls below the national average rate of obesity in the U.S., which is about 36 percent.
How to Avoid Job-Related Obesity
Because you spend between a third to half of your life in your work environment, it makes sense that what you do for a living would affect how you're living. What the results of this study prove is that the rates of obesity and the health-risk behaviors associated with obesity vary significantly based on your job.
Of course, the results of this study shouldn't affect your career choice. Your passions and talents should steer your career. However, there are steps you can take to avoid workplace-associated obesity. Here are a few tips to help you stay active and eat healthy on the job:
- Use your lunch break to squeeze in a little physical activity. If your job involves a lot of time sitting, try to go for a brisk walk in the middle of the day. You'll not only burn some extra calories, you'll likely feel more refreshed and energized throughout the rest of your work day.
- Avoid the free treats or snacks in the breakroom or those brought in by coworkers--donuts, muffins, candies, etc. You don't need them and they're not healthy choices.
- Don't skip meals. Oftentimes people reach for unhealthy meals and snacks when they go too long without eating. Willpower diminishes the longer you wait to eat. Try to stick to regularly-scheduled healthy meals and snacks.
- Pack a healthy lunch. It's much harder to eat healthy when you're ordering take-out or making a run through a fast-food joint. Packing your lunch will allow you to control what you eat (pack some fruits and veggies and a lean protein), keeping you slim while keeping your wallet fat.
Kari Hartel, RD, LD is a Registered, Licensed Dietitian and freelance writer based out of St. Louis, MO. Kari is passionate about nutrition education and the prevention of chronic disease through a healthy diet and active lifestyle. Kari holds a Bachelor of Science in Dietetics from Southeast Missouri State University and is committed to helping people lead healthy lives. She completed a yearlong dietetic internship at OSF St. Francis Medical Center in Peoria, IL, where she worked with a multitude of clients and patients with complicated diagnoses. She planned, marketed, and implemented nutrition education programs and cooking demonstrations for the general public as well as for special populations, including patients with cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, obesity, and school-aged children.