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Impact of Obesity on Work Productivity in Different US Occupations: Analysis of the National Health and Wellness Survey 2014 to 2015

Kudel, Ian PhD; Huang, Joanna C. PharmD; Ganguly, Rahul PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: January 2018 - Volume 60 - Issue 1 - p 6–11
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000001144
Original Articles

Objective: The aim of this study was to quantify the relationship between workers’ body mass index and work productivity within various occupations.

Methods: Data from two administrations (2014 and 2015) of the United States (US) National Health and Wellness Survey, an Internet-based survey administered to an adult sample of the US population, were used for this study (n = 59,772). Occupation was based on the US Department of Labor's 2010 Standardized Occupation Codes. Outcomes included work productivity impairment and indirect costs of missed work time.

Results: Obesity had the greatest impact on work productivity in Construction, followed by Arts and Hospitality occupations. Outcomes varied across occupations; multivariable analyses found significant differences in work productivity impairment and indirect costs between normal weight and at least one obesity class.

Conclusion: Obesity differentially impacted productivity and costs, depending upon occupation.

Kantar Health, New York, New York (Dr Kudel); and Novo Nordisk, Plainsboro, New Jersey (Drs Huang, Ganguly).

Address correspondence to: Ian Kudel, PhD, Kantar Health, 11 Madison Avenue, Floor 12, New York, NY 10010 (

The study reported on in this manuscript was funded by Novo Nordisk.

IK is an employee of Kantar Health, which received funding from Novo Nordisk for conducting and reporting on this study. JH was an employee of Novo Nordisk at the time the study was conducted; RG is an employee of Novo Nordisk.

Authors Kudel, Huang, and Ganguly have no relationships/conditions/circumstances that present potential conflict of interest.

The JOEM editorial board and planners have no financial interest related to this research.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives License 4.0 (CCBY-NC-ND), where it is permissible to download and share the work provided it is properly cited. The work cannot be changed in any way or used commercially without permission from the journal.

Copyright © 2018 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine