Woman sitting at desk late at night One alarming survey finding: 28 percent of the respondentswho have a chronic disease are between the ages of 18 and 29.(Photo: Shutterstock)

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Smoking, eating too many unhealthy foods, drinking excessivealcohol and sitting all day is leaving many U.S. workers at riskfor developing a chronic disease, according to a survey commissioned by WorkplaceOptions, a well-being support provider.

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Indeed, a quarter of the 544 people surveyed by Public PolicyPolling already have been diagnosed with either cardiovasculardisease, chronic respiratory disease, diabetes or pre-diabetes.

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Related: Yes, working long days might killyou

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“Employers are in a unique position to offer employees the toolsand resources they need to live healthier and more productive livesby minimizing their risk factors for these largely preventablediseases,” says Workplace Options’ CEO Dean Debnam. “Tobaccocessation support, weight management resources and employeewell-being coaching are all effective ways to help employees modifytheir lifestyles in ways that will benefit their physical health,as well as the health of the organizations where they work.”

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One alarming survey finding: 28 percent of the respondents whohave a chronic disease are between the ages of 18 and 29.

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“We were surprised to see how many employees, at the beginningof their careers, were already struggling with a chronic disease,”Debnam says. “When you consider the long-term implications in termsof health care costs alone, it is extremely concerning.”

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Other key findings of the survey include:

  • 32 percent of the respondents use some form of tobacco
  • 60 percent say their employer does not provide access totobacco cessation support
  • 55 percent are slightly or very overweight
  • 59 percent say their employer does not offer resources forweight management support
  • Of those polled whose employers offer weight managementresources, 85 percent say they are very likely or somewhat likelyto access support if they needed it
  • 23 percent say they spend on average between 50 percent and 75percent of their waking hours sitting down

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Katie Kuehner-Hebert

Katie Kuehner-Hebert is a freelance writer based in Running Springs, Calif. She has more than three decades of journalism experience, with particular expertise in employee benefits and other human resource topics.