A study by weight loss company Jenny Craig found that waiters take 23,000 steps a day, more than double the recommended 10,000 steps a day to keep fit.

In effect, waiters are among the most active among 10 different professions including teachers, hairdressers, farmers and mothers based on pedometer readings to measure incidental exercise workers get on an average work day.

On the bottom of the list are call centre agents who walk only an average of 6,618 steps a day, followed by office workers. Above 10,000 steps, health experts recommend 12,000 to 15,000 steps each day for people to lose weight.

Karen Inge, Jenny Craig consultant and practising dietitian, said the study indicated health concern for people whose job, such as call centre agents, require them to be seated for a long period of time because they do not burn calories.

An average person spends 50 to 65 per cent of his waking hours sedentary or about 7 to 10 hours a day. Besides sedentary time, workers spend only about 5 per cent of their time in light intensity physical activity and moderate to vigorous physical activity.

"If people can't really move while at work, they should make a concerted effort to set aside an hour a day to get the physical activity they need for their health," Ms Inge said.

Waiters and waitresses confirmed that they never have a chance to sit down because they are barely standing still and are often constantly in motion.

Waiters were followed by nurses who took an average of 16,390 steps, then by retail workers (14,660), farmers (14,037), mothers (13,813), teachers (12,564), tradesmen (11,585), hairdressers (9,209) and office workers (7,570).