Is your job making you fat?

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.

Is your job making you fat continued

Ms Graham said that a brisk 10-minute walk to the Post Office at lunchtime would be the equivalent of 2,000 steps. Strolling the same distance would equate to 1,300 steps. According to Health Works, a good 30-minute walk is equal to 5,000 steps – or half the daily requirement.”If you can incorporate 30 minute walks into your day, say to and from the station or bus stop, you could find you have done enough physical activity to keep your weight stable without having to find a big block of time,” says Ms Graham.

“Brisk walking burns up just as many kilojoules as swimming, golf or cycling when done over the same period of time,” she says. “Stair climbing is also brilliant. Each time you mount one stair you account for one step.”

“People need to remember that any physical is good for them and will assist in approving their health.”

And diet?

“You can’t get someone to change everything all at once but of course diet is important to maintaining a healthy weight.

“We just want to get office workers more active first because we believe that activity will boost their energy levels, and make them feel more motivated and therefore interested in healthier food.”

Story by Kate Southam, editor of CareerOne. Go to for more career related articles. Job hunting and workplace questions can be directed to CareerOne by emailing:

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