A new CareerBuilder survey finds that 57% of the nation's workforce believe they are overweight, and 45% believe they've gained weight at their present job, on par with last year's survey results.

Twenty-six percent of all workers said they gained more than 10 pounds at their current job, while 11% gained more than 20 pounds.

The nationwide survey was conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder from April 4 to May 1, 2018, among a representative sample of 1,117 full-time workers across industries and company sizes in the U.S, including 1,012 in the private sector.

When surveyed about what they think contributes to weight gain at work, workers who have gained weight said:

  • Sitting at a desk most of the day (53%)
  • Too tired from work to exercise (49%)
  • Eating because of stress (41%)
  • No time to exercise before or after work (34%)
  • The temptation of the office candy jar (21%)
  • Eating out regularly (21%)
  • Workplace celebrations (13%)
  • Having to skip meals because of time constraints (12%)
  • Happy hours (6%)
  • Pressure to eat food coworkers bring in (6%)

Most Workers Exercise 'on a Regular Basis'

Despite more than a third of workers who have gained weight at their present jobs saying they're too tired or don't have time to exercise, the majority of U.S. workers (58%) say they exercise on a regular basis.

While 63% of workers in the West say they exercise on a regular basis, 59% of those in the South, 56% in the Northeast and 53% in the Midwest say the same.

But what does "on a regular basis" mean to Americans, and how much exercise is actually helping them lose weight?

Nearly three in 10 (29%) regularly work out three or fewer days a week, and 29% regularly work out four or more days a week.

Consistency is key—26% of U.S. workers who regularly work out four or more days a week say they lost weight at their present job, compared to 12% of those who regularly work out three or fewer days a week.

Forty-two percent of workers don't work out regularly or at all, and 48% of this group say they gained weight at their current job.

Bringing Food from Home May Help

Exercise isn't the only key to losing weight—as they say, you are what you eat.

Nearly a quarter (23%) of U.S. workers eat out at least three times per week for lunch instead of packing their lunch.

Eleven percent of workers find their grub from the vending machine at least once a week.

Workers are then taking their meals back to their desks—63% eat from their workstation.

But lunch isn't the only time the U.S. workforce is eating. Workers are munching away most of the day—72% of workers snack on the job.

Wellness Programs

"Employers understand that healthy employees lead to a more productive workforce and are taking steps to promote healthier lifestyles both in and out of the workplace," said Michael Erwin, senior career advisor at CareerBuilder, in a news release.

However, Erwin also pointed out that 10% of employees are not sure if their employer offers wellness benefits.

Three in 10 workers (30%) say their company provides gym passes, workout facilities, or wellness benefits, but 19% of this group don't take advantage of them.

Sixty-one percent of workers say their employers do not offer wellness benefits, but if offered, 37% believe they would take advantage of them.


Methodology: This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by The Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder among 1,012 employees ages 18 and over (employed full- time, not self-employed, non-government), between April 4 and May 1, 2018. Data for employees were weighted where necessary by gender, age, race/ethnicity, region, income, education, and industry to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population.