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Britain’s builders are the healthiest workers in the country, according to new research. The surprising findings emerged in a study of 2,000 employees, which analysed the food choices, lifestyle habits, fitness levels and working environments of people across a wide range of sectors.
It found that, on the whole, people working within the construction industry rarely snack on unhealthy treats during the day and are amongst the least likely to take time off sick.
The physical nature of their job means builders are active for the best part of the day, and they are less likely to have fast-food or take-out lunches, preferring to pack a lunchbox each morning.
In addition, those in the building trade rarely work through lunch and have two breaks enjoying the fresh air daily.
In contrast, call centre staff have emerged as the unhealthiest set of workers in Britain, and, perhaps most surprisingly, nurses and health workers also appear in the five unhealthiest group.
Kate Jones, Head of Product Development for The Co-operative Food, said:
“The results might not be what people expect, but builders don’t have the day-to-day temptations of the staff canteen, the vending machines, or colleagues bringing in cakes, biscuits and snacks to share.
“The majority of people in construction will leave home early in the morning, taking a packed lunch with them, and will have little chance during the day to buy or eat anything else.
“In contrast, call centre staff are usually working in an open-plan office, where there are plenty of opportunities to be tempted by fatty or sugary ‘treats’.”
Call centre workers will have at least two snacks, such as biscuits or chocolate, during their working day, and have easy access to unhealthy food options in vending machines, on cake trolleys, in the staff canteen and even fast-food vans outside the office.
The study shows the sedentary nature of working in a call centre also crosses over to personal time, as most people in this profession exercise just twice a week.
Call centre workers are amongst the least well people in the country, visiting the doctor at least twice a year and frequently feeling run down with ill health.
Interestingly, 57% of call centre employees blame their work for their inability to eat healthily, compared to just 27% of builders.
Lawyers, shop assistants, teachers and secretaries complete the top five list of Britain’s healthiest professions.
But working in the health industry does not make Britain’s nurses healthy, according to the survey – nurses are in the top five list of the unhealthiest professions, along with finance sector workers, HR and personnel staff, and insurers.
Half of those in the health and nursing profession don’t take any breaks during the day where they can enjoy the fresh air, and the same percentage sit at their desk or station during their lunch break.
A third do absolutely no exercise at all during the week.
Additionally, nurses and health workers score their jobs six out of 10 for stress, second only to workers in the police and fire service.
Despite having healthy food options available regularly, drinking three glasses of water a day and only rating their jobs as mildly stressful, the AVERAGE worker will still feel ill eight times a year.
Four in 10 people say work is to blame for the fact they are not healthier, while 46% blame work for their lack of exercise.
Kate Jones continues:
“Well done to Britain’s builders for leading the way in being healthy in the workplace.
“It’s really important to ensure that your healthy lifestyle is incorporated into your working day, as most people do spend the majority of their time at work.
“The survey shows that, on average, only 56% of Brits take their own lunch to work, so more could benefit by taking in their own healthy packed lunches so they avoid being tempted at lunchtime, and by having healthy snacks such as fruit pots or seeds to hand when they feel peckish.
“Swapping coffee and tea for water, and making sure they get out for a brisk walk and some fresh air at lunchtime are also simple changes that British workers could make to make their working week a healthy one – small ways to make a big difference.”
TOP 5 HEALTHIEST PROFESSIONS
- Shop assistants
TOP 5 UNHEALTHIEST PROFESSIONS
- Call centre workers
- Financial services
- HR and personnel