It turns out jobs in public administration, utilities, and health care and social service have some of the highest populations of obese employees.
A new study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine analyzed data from the 2010 National Health Interview Survey to determine Americans’ weight, height, occupation and general stress on the job. The researchers found that employees who worked over 40 hours a week or worked in a hostile work environments were significantly more likely to be obese.
People working in protective service, like cops and security guards were the most likely to be obese. But more surprising industries like health care had high numbers of obese workers as well, likely due to high stress and long hours. The study found that those who worked in healthcare customer service and support were far more likely to be obese than actual health care practitioners, suggesting, it said, “that the impact of working conditions on obesity may be especially harmful for lower-income workers.”
The researchers say jobs with long hours can lower workers’ opportunities to get exercise, and jobs with high levels of stress are associated with eating unhealthy and consuming more calories in general. Shift workers often deal with chronic stress, which can have biological effects on the body that contribute to obesity.
Since many employers are looking for ways to cut costs related to health care, knowing what type of work environments can impact obesity levels is valuable.
Here are the top 10 industries with the highest numbers of obese workers:
1. Public administration
4. Transportation and warehousing
5. Healthcare and social assistance
8. Administrative support
10. Agriculture, forestry, fishing, hunting