Sunday, May 3, 2009

Stress = snacking = excess weight

An unexpected twist of the recession, as reported by Reuters news service last week:
The recession that is shrinking workers' paychecks may also be expanding their waistlines.

One in 10 U.S. workers said they are snacking more during the day due to concerns over the economic situation, and nearly half complained of gaining weight in their jobs, according to a survey by, an online jobs site.

It said 43 percent of employees surveyed reported they have gained weight while in their present jobs. A quarter said they gained more than 10 pounds and a sixth gained more than 20 pounds.

Admitting to eating habits that can contribute to weight gain, 39 percent said they eat out for lunch twice or more a week, and 12 percent buy lunch from a vending machine at least once a week, the survey showed.

Two-thirds said they snack at least once a day, including 24 percent who snack twice a day, it said.

"Weight gain in the office is common and is a result of a variety of issues including today's economic stress and poor eating habits," said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources for

Only 9 percent of employees exercise at midday, the survey said, although a quarter of U.S. companies provide gym passes, workout facilities or similar benefits, it said.

Women are more likely than men to say they have gained weight, 48 to 39 percent, it said.

The online survey was conducted Feb. 20 through March 11 by Harris Interactive among 4,435 U.S. adults employed full-time. The margin of error was plus or minus 1.47 percentage points. is owned by Gannett Co, the Tribune Co, McClatchy Co and Microsoft Corp.
Full disclosure here: I worked for the McClatchy Co. for more than 20 years. But they acquired CareerBuilder when they swallowed up the Knight Ridder chain, and I had no contact with that part of the company.

And one thing I noticed in those 20+ years: When the editor and the corporate officers used the gym, and made a point of taking some time out of their day to march down to basement with their gym bags, many of the employees followed suit. Once that stopped happening, the gym gradually emptied, and when I left, it was used only by the most dedicated exercisers.

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