BMI linked to short-term disability and lost work days
The impact of body mass index on short-term disability in the workplace. Arena VC, Padiyar KR, Burton WN, Schwerha JJ. J Occup Environ Med. 2006. 48: 1118-1124.
To evaluate the impact of body mass index (BMI) on workplace productivity, as measured by the frequency and duration of short-term disability (STD) events in a working population.
17,622 employees of a US-based large financial services corporation who completed a health risk appraisal between January 2000 and July 2002.
Health risk appraisal data from the population who had at least one STD event (n = 1,690) were then compared with data from those who had no STD events (n = 15,932).
- Overweight or obese individuals (BMI 25.0-29.9 kg/m2 and ≥30 kg/m2, respectively) were more likely to have an STD event than normal weight or underweight employees (BMI 18.5-24.9 kg/m2 and <18.5 kg/m2, respectively); 73% of normal weight employees took an STD event versus 14.9% of obese employees.
- The average BMI for employees with an STD event was 29.1 kg/m2; for those without an STD event the figure was 26.6 kg/m2.
- Underweight workers had the longest average STD duration (51.8 work days over the study period), followed by employees who were obese (48.8 work days).
What does this mean?
Improving employee health to promote a healthful weight could reduce STD events, a major cost to companies.