To quantify the impact of weight gain or weight loss on health care costs.
Employees completing at least two health risk assessments during 2002 to 2008 were classified as adding, losing, or staying at high/low risk for each of the nine health risks including overweight and obesity. Models for each risk were used to compare cost trends by controlling for employee characteristics.
Employees who developed high risk for obesity (n = 405) experienced 9.9% points higher annual cost increases (95% confidence interval: 3.0%–16.8%) than those who remained at lower risk (n = 8015). Employees who moved from high to lower risk for obesity (n = 384), experienced annual cost increases that were 2.3% points lower (95% confidence interval: −7.4% to 2.8%) than those who remained high risk (n = 1699).
Preventing weight gain through effective employee health promotion programs is likely to result in cost savings for employers.
From Health Outcomes, Thomson Reuters (Dr Carls), Ann Arbor, Mich; Institute for Health and Productivity Studies (Dr Goetzel), Emory University, Atlanta, Ga; Thomson Reuters (Dr Goetzel), Washington, DC; Thomson Reuters (Dr Henke), Cambridge, Mass; Johnson & Johnson Wellness & Prevention (Ms Bruno), New Brunswick, NJ; and Global Health Services (Dr Isaac) and Integrated Health Services (Dr McHugh), Johnson & Johnson Services Inc, New Brunswick, NJ.
Address correspondence to: Ginger Smith Carls, PhD, Health Outcomes, Thomson Reuters, 777 E Eisenhower Parkway, Ann Arbor, MI 48108;E–mail: Ginger.Carls@thomsonreuters.com.
Ginger Smith Carls and coauthors received funding for this research from Johnson & Johnson.
The JOEM Editorial Board and planners have no financial interest related to this research.