Ever-improving technology has replaced manual labor at many American jobs, making sedentary lifestyles commonplace. A whopping 60 percent of the population is overweight or obese, and occupations that require little or no movement certainly haven't helped. The relationship between obesity and occupation has not been fully explored; however, it has been found that work-related factors, such as job type, position, overtime, work conditions, and job stress could promote abdominal fat buildup and weight gain.

Most of us know that obesity is linked to an increased risk of developing an array of health-related problems, such as hypertension, asthma, type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, stroke, and coronary heart disease. Some risk factors, such as inactivity at home and diet, we can manage. Others we have no control over, like heredity and occupation.

A 2002 survey conducted by the American Journal of Public Health showed that workers in certain jobs are more likely to be overweight or obese than others. The journal found that rates vary by gender. Here are the rankings, by gender, of occupations with the highest obesity rates.

5 Fattest Jobs for Men

Public administration

(38 percent obese): This job includes more than just the elected officials; public administrators are anyone involved with government--whether it is at the local, state or national level. Although the positions are important to keep our democracy humming, the job itself often involves sitting behind a desk and does not allow for a lot of movement outside of the office.

Private household occupations

(37.7 percent obese): Telecommuting and working from home have been on the upswing due to exceedingly high gas prices. Those who work from home may be saving money on gas, but the truth is these jobs often involve little more than sitting in front of a computer screen. It probably doesn't help much that the fridge is no more than a few rooms away.

Motor vehicle operators

(35.9 percent obese): They may help us get from point A to point B, but the fact remains, motor vehicle operators are stationary throughout their work day. In fact, one study of bus drivers in the Philadelphia found that male bus drivers had higher body mass indexes (BMI) than the national average in all age demographics.

Computer equipment operators

(33.1 percent obese): This should come as no surprise. If your job revolves around computer equipment, it also revolves around inactivity. What's more, a study conducted by Statistics Canada found that adults who spend over three hours a day sitting in front of a computer are more likely to be obese.

Health assessment/treating occupations

(31.2 percent obese): The clean, sterile surroundings in which health assessment employees work give off the perception of a healthy environment. The truth is your MRI technicians, pharmacy aides, medical assistants, and lab analyzers aren't doing much as far as healthy movement goes. These positions require long, odd hours that can make evening or weekend workouts difficult.


5 Fattest Jobs for Women

Material-moving equipment operators

(52.6 percent obese): Of the more than 8 million heavy machinery operators nationwide, 15 percent are female, and half of them are obese. Truckers, conveyor operators, ship loaders, and other employees who manage these large machines also require sitting down for long periods of time.

Motor vehicle operators

(42.6 percent obese): Like their male counterparts, female motor vehicle operators suffer from the same sedentary workday. To break the sitting cycle, it could help to devote some time after work to exercise-even if it's only for a half an hour. In addition to helping with weight loss, it could prevent blood clots and other issues related to being seated for so long.

Health service personnel

(36.6 percent obese): Not unlike other positions in the medical field, health service managers work long hours, which can result in a lack of time to exercise after work. Due to technological advances over the past 10 years, health care executives' or health care administrators' time is mostly spent in front of computers, assuring that their facilities are operating at optimum efficiency.

Computer equipment operators

(32.1 percent obese): One percentage point separates the females from the males in this field. Computers provide information at lightning-fast speed; but be careful--it can add on the pounds just as fast.

Fabricators, assemblers

(30.7 percent obese): The job of the fabricator takes an acute knowledge of tools, assembly processes, and sharp attention to quality control. With the vast majority of companies relying on machines and assembly lines, the job itself calls for little movement and much standing in one place.