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Effect of Workplace Weight Management on Health Care Expenditures and Quality of Life

Michaud, Tzeyu L. PhD; Nyman, John A. PhD; Jutkowitz, Eric BA; Su, Dejun PhD; Dowd, Bryan PhD; Abraham, Jean M. PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: November 2016 - Volume 58 - Issue 11 - p 1073–1078
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000000864

Objective: We examined the effectiveness of the weight management program used by the University of Minnesota in reducing health care expenditures and improving quality of life of its employees, and also in reducing their absenteeism during a 3-year intervention.

Methods: A differences-in-differences regression approach was used to estimate the effect of weight management participation. We further applied ordinary least squares regression models with fixed effects to estimate the effect in an alternative analysis.

Results: Participation in the weight management program significantly reduced health care expenditures by $69 per month for employees, spouses, and dependents, and by $73 for employees only. Quality-of-life weights were 0.0045 points higher for participating employees than for nonparticipating ones. No significant effect was found for absenteeism.

Conclusions: The workplace weight management used by the University of Minnesota reduced health care expenditures and improved quality of life.

Center for Reducing Health Disparities (Drs Michaud, Su), the Department of Health Promotion, Social & Behavioral Health, College of Public Health, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, Nebraska (Drs Michaud, Su), and the Division of Health Policy and Management, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota (Drs Dowd, Abraham, Nyman, Mr Jutkowitz).

Address correspondence to: Tzeyu L. Michaud, PhD, Center for Reducing Health Disparities, 984340 Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE 68198 (

This study was funded by Employee Benefits, Office of the Vice President for Human Resources, University of Minnesota.

Authors Michaud, Nyman, Jutkowitz, Su, Dowd and Abraham have no relationships/ conditions/circumstances that present potential conflict of interest.

Copyright © 2016 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine