Does working make you fat? Two new studies tackle this topic and it turns out, at least for some people, that working can lead to weight gain and even an increased risk for obesity. The first study I came across focused specifically on nurses.


Findings from the study, Comparison of Job Stress and Obesity in Nurses With Favorable and Unfavorable Work Schedules, will be published in the August 2012 issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Researchers compared obesity-related factors in 1,724 female nurses. The nurses were each categorized as having a favorable or an unfavorable work schedule.


About 55 percent of nurses in each group were either overweight or obese. However, the risk factors differed in each group. Obesity risk factors among the nurses with an unfavorable work schedule included getting less sleep and exercise as well as having to care for dependents. Obesity risk factors among nurses with a favorable work schedule included unhealthy behaviors like smoking and alcohol use.


The second study on the topic of working and weight gain was published in the International Journal of Obesity. The title of this study sums up the research well: Employment, work hours and weight gain among middle-aged women.


This study determined that working longer hours was linked to weight gain. Women employed part-time gained more weight than their unemployed or non-working peers. Women employed full-time gained more weight than their part-time counterparts and women who worked overtime gained more weight than those working a standard full-time job.


According to the researchers, “These findings suggest that as women work longer hours they are more likely to make lifestyle choices that are associated with weight gain.”


These studies really highlight the importance of work-life balance and in this case, the need for women to make time for exercise despite their busy work schedules.


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