You could be reading the full-text of this article now if you...

If you have access to this article through your institution,
you can view this article in

The Association Between Body Mass Index Class, Sickness Absence, and Presenteeism

Janssens, Heidi MD; Clays, Els PhD; Kittel, France PhD; De Bacquer, Dirk PhD; Casini, Annalisa PhD; Braeckman, Lutgart PhD

Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine:
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e31824b2133
Original Articles

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.

Author Information

From the Department of Public Health (Drs Janssens, De Bacquer, and Braeckman), Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium; and Department of Epidemiology and Health Promotion (Drs Kittel and Casini), School of Public Health, Université libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium.

Address correspondence to: Heidi Janssens, MD, Department of Public Health, Ghent University, University Hospital–(2) Block A, De Pintelaan 185, B-9000 Ghent, Belgium (

The Belstress III was supported by the Belgian Federal Service Employment, Labor and Social Dialogue, and by the European Social Fund.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

©2012The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine