Photographed by Sara Haile.
By now you know that sitting down at your desk all day isn't good for you. But, what specific jobs put you at the highest risk for becoming dangerously overweight? A new study, published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, offers a fairly surprising finding. People in the health-care field have a higher obesity rate than almost any other category.
The research team took data from the 2010 National Health Interview Survey and compared it to employees' self-reported weight and height information. People in any industry who worked more than 40 hours per week or were stuck in a hostile work environment were much more likely to be obese. In fact, those who reported bullying saw a 13% higher obesity rate. And, when the team adjusted their findings to include factors like race, age, gender, and smoking habits, health-care professionals still saw a higher-than-average obesity rate — almost 35%. In fact, the only groups with a higher obesity prevalence were bureaucrats and protective-service workers (think policemen and security guards).
The Atlantic points out that although we think of the "health-services" industry as a bunch doctors and nurses who are on their feet all day, it also includes many desk-bound employees, like medical secretaries and social workers. But, the author also notes a previous study compared the obesity rates of "health-diagnosing" professionals, which includes doctors, nurses, and other high-earning individuals who interact directly with patients, and "health-services" professionals — including everyone from surgeons to case workers — found the former had a much lower prevalence obesity. This suggests that income plays a significant role: Those who make more money can afford to buy healthier food, invest in gym memberships, etc.