Physiotherapists are warning employers that they are risking the health of their business if they don't encourage better working habits and promote physical wellbeing among staff.
One in five people surveyed for the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) and Aviva revealed they worked through their lunch every day.
Of those who do manage to take a break, 48% said they ate at their desk.
Only 19% leave their workplace to go outside for a break, and only three per cent go to the gym, meaning most miss out on any kind of physical activity during the day.
The CSP is calling on employers to find ways to support staff to be more physically active during the working day to reduce their risk of developing musculoskeletal problems and illnesses such as cancer, heart disease and stroke.
Under a third (30%) of workers said their employer provided any kind of exercise opportunities, such as a subsidised gym membership, a lunchtime running club, or an after work fitness class.
With workplace sickness absences costing the UK an estimated £13.8 billion each year, the CSP said the business case for promoting healthy lifestyles among staff "is clear."
Prof Karen Middleton, chief executive of the CSP, said: "Aside from the human cost, the price of inactivity for employers can be vast, with higher sickness absence costs and lower productivity. Physios play a key role in getting people back to work and keeping them fit for work.
"It is in everybody's interests to find ways to tackle the enormous problem of inactivity in the UK and we would encourage people to take responsibility for their own health."
The research was released to promote CSP's annual ‘Workout at Work Day', when hundreds of physiotherapy staff will be going into workplaces and other public spaces to encourage people to increase their levels of physical activity.
Mark Sharpe, rehabilitation clinical lead at Aviva UK health, said: "Musculoskeletal conditions and stress are the leading cause of sickness absence and both CSP and Aviva are committed to promoting the ways workers can avoid ill health.
"We also want to use Workout at Work Day to highlight to employers the benefits of having effective occupational health services, such as physiotherapy, in place for staff.
"If employers provide fast access to that expert support, a member of staff's sickness absence can be kept to a minimum and in many cases, avoided entirely."
Health Minister Lord Howe said: "The Department of Health recognises the importance of Work out at Work day and needs to lead by example on staff health and wellbeing.
"We offer staff gym memberships, exercise classes and wellbeing advice to encourage staff to stay fit and healthy - as well as helping to increase motivation and productivity at work.
"We are also working in partnership with industry, through the Responsibility Deal, to take real steps towards getting the nation into healthy habits for life."
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