Obese Workers Costing Connecticut Millions in Lost Productivity
A study estimated $120.6 million in lost productivity due to obesity-related absenteeism in Connecticut.
Absenteeism among obese workers is costing the nation billions in lost productivity, according to a new study.
Researchers at Yale's Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity took a look at two sets of data, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, and the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance, and concluded that obese workers miss more work than their normal weight counterparts.
"For normal-weight people, we estimate about four days on average that they basically miss due to their health, but for obese people, it's five to six days a year," said Tatiana Andreyeva, lead author of the study and the Rudd Center's director of economic initiatives.
The study said that translates to an estimated $8.65 billion a year in lost productivity. In Connecticut alone, obesity-related absenteeism accounted for $120.6 million a year.
Andreyeva said that although the medical reasons why obese people missed more work than workers of normal weight was not covered in her study, obesity-related illnesses could account for those extra sick days.
"What we could speculate is that it could be high blood pressure, or heart disease, or diabetes," Andreyeva said. "High blood pressure is one example. If you have high blood pressure -- and many obese people do -- and you are not feeling well, you're likely not to go to work."
The report concluded that obesity is a financial drain on states in both lost productivity and health-related costs, and urged more research in how to curb obesity through state level policy and through employer and industry initiatives.
The study is published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.