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Lost Productive Work Time Costs From Health Conditions in the United States: Results From the American Productivity Audit

Stewart, Walter F. PhD, MPH; Ricci, Judith A. ScD, MS; Chee, Elsbeth ScD; Morganstein, David MS

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: December 2003 - Volume 45 - Issue 12 - p 1234-1246
doi: 10.1097/01.jom.0000099999.27348.78
CME Article #1

Recall the overall magnitude of lsot productive time (LPT) and its dollar cost as found in the American Productivity Audit, and the respective contributions of absenteeism and decreased producitivity at work.Be aware of how LPT varies with a number of demographic and workrelated factors.Compare the factors predisposing to LPT for personal and family-related reasons. The American Productivity Audit (APA) is a telephone survey of a random sample of 28,902 U.S. workers designed to quantify the impact of health conditions on work. Lost productive time (LPT) was measured for personal and family health reasons and expressed in hours and dollars. Health-related LPT cost employers $225.8 billion/year ($1685/employee per year); 71% is explained by reduced performance at work. Personal health LPT was 30% higher in females and twice as high in smokers (≥1 pack/day) versus nonsmokers. Workers in high-demand, low-control jobs had the lowest average LPT/week versus the highest LPT for those in low-demand, high-control jobs. Family health-related work absence accounted for 6% of all health-related LPT. Health-related LPT costs are substantial but largely invisible to employers. Costs vary significantly by worker characteristics, suggesting that intervention needs vary by specific subgroups.

From the AdvancePCS Center for Work and Health, Hunt Valley, Maryland (Drs Stewart, Ricci, and Chee); Geisinger Health System, Danville, Pennsylvania (Dr Stewart); and Westat, Rockville, Maryland (Mr Morganstein).

Address correspondence to: Walter F. Stewart, PhD, MPH, Center for Health Research & Rural Advocacy, Geisinger Health System, 100 N Academy Ave., Danville, PA 17822-3030; E-mail:

Walter F. Stewart has no commercial interest related to this article.

©2003The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine