Objective: To replicate in a prospective analysis the earlier cross-sectional moderator effects of physical activity, sports, and dietary restraint on overweight-associated absenteeism.
Methods: Using a web-based life style questionnaire in a large banking corporation responses were obtained from 2298 employees. These data were coupled with the data from the company absenteeism registration in the year preceding (T1) and the year following (T2) the assessment of physical activity, sports, and dietary restraint. In all analyses we controlled for age, sex, level of education, and smoking. In addition, we controlled for possible confounding effects of perceived general health and energy at work and in the analyses with dietary restraint also for emotional and external eating and physical activity and sports.
Results: Only restrained eating was found to moderate the relation between overweight and/or obesity on the one hand and absenteeism at T2 on the other hand. The degree of overweight and obesity was more strongly related to augmented absenteeism at T2 in people with higher levels of dietary restraint.
Conclusion: To reduce absenteeism in overweight and/or obese employees it seems indeed wise to advise them to stop dieting.