Is your job making you fat?

January 28, 2003

Desk bound office workers are getting fatter and more lethargic according to a firm of consultants that specialises in corporate fitness.

Health Works staff say they are seeing a rising tide of kilos, cholesterol, fatigue and inactivity amongst the hundreds of offices they visit to either operate in-office gyms or to run health programs.

The company’s anecdotal evidence is reflected by Australian Bureau of Statistics research that shows a greater number of us are struggling with our weight.

The proportion of adult males classified as overweight or obese increased from 46 per cent in 1989-90 to 52 per cent in 1995 and 58 per cent in 2001. Over the same period 32 of females were classified as obese in 1989-90, 37 per cent in 1995 and 42 per cent in 2001.

Workplace manager of Health Works Nicole Graham told CareerOne that the sedentary nature of many jobs today coupled with longer working hours had proved a recipe for creeping kilos.

The good news, she says, is that it actually takes very little effort to stay in shape.

“A lot of people think they have to go to the gym for an hour a day to get any fitness,” says Ms Graham. “In reality, if you exercise intermittently during the day you accumulate just as many health benefits as doing that gym workout.”

Walking 20 minutes to public transport, using the stairs at work twice, going for a short walk at lunchtime and then taking the dog or kids for even a short a walk at night might be all you need.

“People who take 10,000 steps a day are likely to be of normal weight, while those taking less than 5,000 steps a day are likely to be obese,” says Ms Graham.

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