Objective: Quantify the impact of employee overweight and obesity on costs, absence days, and self-reported productivity.
Methods: Employees' retrospective body mass index (BMI) values (kg/m2) from 2003 to 2011 health appraisal data defined three cohorts: BMI < 27, 27 ≤ BMI < 30, BMI ≥ 30. Medical, pharmacy, sick leave, short-term disability, long-term disability, and workers' compensation costs and absence days, and Health Productivity Questionnaire responses were compared using regression modeling, controlling for demographics, salary, and index year.
Results: Among 39,696 (BMI < 27), 14,281 (27 ≤ BMI < 30), and 18,801 (BMI ≥ 30) eligible employees, per-employee adjusted total annual costs were $4258, $4873, and $6313, respectively. Medical, pharmacy, sick leave, workers' compensation costs and days were higher for higher-BMI cohorts (P < 0.01). Employees with BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2 had the most short-term disability costs and days and least productivity (P < 0.001).
Conclusions: Employees with higher BMI levels are associated with significantly more costs and absences and lower self-reported productivity.