WORKING ABROAD / JUN. 08, 2014
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Is Your job Making you fat?

News last week that young British women are the fattest in Europe (one third of females under 20 years old are now overweight), will no-doubt have made for depressing reading.

Men aren’t far behind either, with 26% of young men now classed as either overweight or obese. But while lack of exercise gets the lion’s share of reasons why this might be so, there’s a contributory factor you might not instantly have thought of. Maybe your size also depends on the job you have.

While the link might not sound instantly obviously, it’s actually one that’s increasingly being backed up by research.

Recent analysis by Canada Life, for example, find that it’s the jobs people have that are causally responsible for them putting on weight. It finds that, on average, the job people have alone adds an average of 7lbs to a person’s overall weight gain in a year, with those working in IT found to be most prone to weight-gain (56%), followed by those in accounting, banking and finance (53%) and law (52%).

In fact, because of the sedentary lifestyles that the most desk-bound jobs create, the research also finds that 44% of British workers would now not recommend their career to someone who wanted a healthy lifestyle.

The research questioned more than 1,000 people, asking them about their eating and exercise habits. Because of the stress their jobs create, some 20% of respondents said they regularly skip eating healthily during their lunch break and instead grab the nearest, and quickest fatty convenience food.

It found that more office workers now rely on junk food to keep them going throughout the day, while respondents also said it was their long working hours culture that prevents them from exercising as much as they would like to.

Not surprisingly, the professions where people were least likely to put on weight because of their jobs were tourism and sport (with just a 12% likelihood), and retail and sales (22%) - people who are running around or are on their feet all day.

All told, around 36% of people blame their job for causing them to put on weight. So what can you do about it? What seems clear is that working less instantly gives you more time to live a balanced healthier life. That involves a discussion with your manager.

But, even if you are stuck at work, there are ways to burn calories. Taking the stairs, and having regular breaks away from your desk can burn up to 300 calories per day – all possible without you really having to do much. If these are excess calories being burned, you won’t necessarily lose weight, but if this activity is contributing to you burning off more calories than you consume, then over a period of a week, just doing this will enable you to lose roughly two-thirds of a pound. Suddenly, that sounds a whole lot better. So, with the summer holidays just around the corner, walking around the office now is a great way to get ahead of the game.

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