Obesity increases medical and absenteeism costs
The costs of obesity among full-time employees. Finkelstein E, Fiebelkorn C, Wang G. Am J Health Promot. 2005. 20: 45-51.
To estimate the annual medical and absenteeism costs related to obesity across the US.
Two nationally representative datasets: the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) with 25,427 participants and the Medical Expenditure Interview Survey (MEPS) with 20,329 participants.
Analyzed NHIS data to look at absenteeism and MEPS data to look at medical costs.
Body mass index was categorized into five groups, normal, overweight, grade I obesity, grade II obesity, and grade III obesity.
- Obesity resulted in a significant increase in absenteeism for women, but a not so significant increase for men.
- Combined absenteeism and medical costs for overweight or grade I, II or III obese individuals was significantly greater than that for normal weight men and women.
- Obesity in a firm with 1,000 employees would cost US$285,000 per year, approximately 30% of this resulting from increased absenteeism.
What does this mean?
Obesity resulted in significant increases in medical costs for full-time employees. Obesity-related costs were significantly higher for women than men.