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Is your job making you fat?

(Moneywatch) What job is most likely to make you gain weight? No, not pastry chef. It's being an administrative assistant, according to a new study about the link between weight and work.

The report, by job-search firm CareerBuilder, found that 55 percent of employees consider themselves overweight. That would be better that the general population. The Centers for Disease Control says nearly 70 percent of Americans over age 20 are overweight.

Surveying nearly 3,700 workers, CareerBuilder reports that 41 percent say they gained weight at their present job. Of those, 59 percent gained more than 10 pounds, and 30 percent gained more than 20 pounds. But earning a living doesn't always mean putting on the pounds: 16 percent of all workers say they've lost weight while at their current job.

The greatest number of people who say they gained weight at work are those in jobs with high levels of stress or who must spend long hours behind a desk, as follows:

  • Administrative assistant (69 percent)
  • Engineer (56 percent)
  • Teacher/instructor K-12 (51 percent)
  • Nurse practitioner or physician's assistant (51 percent)
  • IT manager/network administrator (51 percent)
  • Attorney/judge/legal professional (48 percent)
  • Machine operator/assembly/production worker (45 percent)
  • Scientist, biological/physical/social (39 percent)

Workers pointed to sedentary jobs, readily-available junk food and time constraints leading to unhealthy eating habits as the primary causes for expanding waistlines. Here are the main reasons employees cited for packing on the pounds, according to CareerBuilder:

  • Sitting at my desk most of the day (56 percent)
  • Eating because of stress (35 percent)
  • Eating out regularly (26 percent)
  • The temptation of the office candy jar (17 percent)
  • Having to skip meals because of time constraints (17 percent)
  • Birthdays, potlucks and other workplace celebrations (17 percent)
  • Pressure to eat food co-workers bring in (9 percent)
  • "Happy hour" festivities (4 percent)

Controlling portions and counting calories is especially challenging for people who eat out and snack while at work. More than half of employees go out to eat at least once a week, and a quarter eat out three or more times a week. Eight percent report eating lunch out of the vending machine at least once a week, while 70 percent workers say they snack during the day.

Despite more than half of all workers feeling overweight, nearly 6 of 10 employees say they work out on a regular basis, with 45 percent hitting the gym at least three times a week. Thirty percent say they exercise, but not regularly, and 11 percent don't exercise at all.

Getting a nudge from employers to stay in shape does seem to have some impact. A third of survey respondents said their companies provide wellness benefits such as workout facilities or gym passes. Of these, 36 percent take advantage of them.

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