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Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine:
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e3181f274d2
Original Articles

The Costs of Obesity in the Workplace

Finkelstein, Eric A. PhD; DiBonaventura, Marco daCosta PhD; Burgess, Somali M. PhD; Hale, Brent C. RPh

Continued Medical Education
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Abstract

Objective: To quantify per capita and aggregate medical expenditures and the value of lost productivity, including absenteeism and presenteeism, because of overweight, and grade I, II, and III obesity among U.S. employees.

Methods: Cross-sectional analysis of the 2006 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey and the 2008 National Health and Wellness Survey.

Results: Among men, estimates range from −$322 for overweight to $6087 for grade III obese men. For women, estimates range from $797 for overweight to $6694 for grade III. In aggregate, the annual cost attributable to obesity among full-time employees is $73.1 billion. Individuals with a body mass index >35 represent 37% of the obese population but are responsible for 61% of excess costs.

Conclusions: Successful efforts to reduce the prevalence of obesity, especially among those with a body mass index >35, could result in significant savings to employers.

©2010The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine

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