Objective: To examine the relationship between body mass index class, presenteeism, and prospective registered sickness absence.
Methods: Data were collected from 2983 Belgian workers. Presenteeism was assessed by a single question, evaluating the frequency of being at work, despite illness, during the preceding year. Sickness absence data were registered during 12 months' follow-up. Multiple logistic regression analysis was conducted.
Results: Body mass index class was positively and significantly associated with presenteeism (at least two occasions of working despite illness) in the male employees and was a significant predictor of high sickness absence (at least 10 sick leave days) in the female population. A final multivariate model demonstrated that these relations were only partly mediated by self-rated health.
Conclusion: The results of this study suggest a gender difference concerning absenteeism and presenteeism in overweight and obese employees.