Diet related health risks increase medical and productivity costs
The relationship between health risk and health and productivity costs among employees at Pepsi Bottling Group. Henke RM, Carls GS, Short ME, Pei X, Wang S, Morley S, Sullivan M. J Occup Environ Med. 2010. 52 (5): 519-525.
To measure the costs associated with employee health risks and to estimate potential cost savings from risk reduction.
11,217 employees of a soft drink manufacturing plant that completed a health risk assessment (HRA). The sample consisted of mainly male 'blue-collar' workers.
The employees' medical care, compensation and short term disability costs were evaluated against 10 modifiable health risks outlined in the employee's HRA. The health risks were overweight/obesity, high blood pressure, high blood glucose, high total cholesterol, physical inactivity, poor diet, stress, depression, tobacco use, and alcohol consumption.
- High risk for weight, blood pressure, glucose, and cholesterol had the greatest impact on total costs.
- A 1% reduction in weight risk would save $50.95 per worker each year.
- A 1% annual reduction in ten modifiable health risks would save between $83.02-$103.39 per worker each year.
- Even a small 0.01% reduction in risks would save between $8.38-$10.45 per worker per year.
What does this mean?
Modifiable health risks in employees cause organisational expenditure through greater medical and compensation claims and short term disability costs. Even a small reduction in risk factors can bring substantial savings.