FRIDAY, Oct. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Obese workers cost U.S.
employers $73.1 billion, a new study has found.
That estimated cost of obesity among full-time workers included
three factors: medical costs, lost productivity on the job due to
health problems (presenteeism), and absence from work. The study
included individuals who were normal weight, overweight and
In measuring presenteeism, the study authors looked at the gap
between when employees arrived at the workplace and actually began
working, as well as periods when they worked slowly or lost
concentration, among other things.
Duke University researchers analyzed data from the 2006 Medical
Expenditure Panel Survey and the 2008 U.S. National Health and
Wellness Survey and concluded that the per capita costs of obesity
are as much as $16,900 for obese women and $15,500 for obese
Presenteeism accounted for the largest part of those costs: 56
percent for women and 68 percent for men, according to the results
of the study published Oct. 8 in the
Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
"Our study provides evidence of yet another cost of obesity. Employers should consider both the medical and productivity costs of obesity when thinking about investments in weight management or other wellness programs," study leader Eric Finkelstein, deputy director for health services and systems research at Duke-National University of Singapore, said in a Duke news release.
Employers should promote healthy foods in the workplace,
encourage a company-wide culture of wellness, and provide economic
and other incentives to workers who strive to improve their health
by losing weight, maintaining a healthy weight and/or taking part
in other healthy lifestyle behaviors, Finkelstein suggested.
The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more
overweight and obesity.