Obese Employees Miss More Work, Study Finds

Additional missed days cost U.S. economy more than $8 billion a year, researchers report

From the WebMD Archives

By Robert Preidt

HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Nov. 24, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Obese Americans are absent from work more often than their normal-weight colleagues, and these absences cost the U.S. economy more than $8 billion a year, a new study shows.

Researchers found that obese workers miss an average of between one and two more work days a year than normal-weight workers. However, employees who were overweight, but not obese, did not have a higher number of work absences.

Obesity accounted for an average of 9.3 percent of total job absenteeism costs nationwide, but ranged from 6.5 percent in the District of Columbia to 12.6 percent in Arkansas, the findings showed.

The study was published in the November issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

"Obesity-attributable costs of absenteeism are substantial and impose a considerate financial drain on states," study author Tatiana Andreyeva, of Yale University in New Haven, Conn., said in a journal news release.

Andreyeva called for further research and noted: "It is important to discuss further how these costs vary across employers, employees and industries, and what policies prove effective in reducing productivity losses of obesity."

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SOURCE: Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, news release, Nov. 13, 2014
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