Lost Productivity Through Obesity-related Absenteeism, Costs Highest for 10 U.S. States Says Study
Obesity remains a critical issue for loss of productivity in the workplace, according to a study funded by the National Cancer Institute, costing companies dearly per employee every year, and the nation as a whole over 8 billion per year. The study indicates that absenteeism due to obesity-related illnesses not only reduces company productivity, but may also impact society in higher overall production costs and a less competitive work force.
Women who are obese, for example, with a Body Mass Index of 40 or higher, miss nearly one full week more of work than women of normal weight, according to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention. In general, productivity losses due to family health problems cost U.S. companies about $1,685 per year, per employee, or $225.8 billion.
Costs due to obesity-related absences do vary by state, and reflect differences in average daily earnings. Obesity accounts for 9.3 percent of U.S. total absenteeism costs, with individual state totals ranging from 6.5 percent in Washington D.C. to 12.6 percent in Arkansas.
Higher Cost For Some States
The 10 U.S. states that incur the highest percentage of absenteeism costs however, include Arkansas 12.6%, Louisiana 11.7%, Mississippi 11.2%, Oklahoma and West Virginia 10.9%, Alabama and South Carolina 10.8%, Tennessee 10.6%, and Iowa and Michigan 10.3%. And, if average cost per employee, per year is $260 for the nation, state costs range from $209 (South Dakota) to $321 (New Jersey).
“Obesity-attributable absenteeism among American workers costs the nation an estimated $8.65 billion per year,” says Yale University PhD, Tatiana Andreyeva. Together, with colleagues she analyzed data to identify workdays missed due to obesity-related reasons, and associated costs at the state level. Results revealed that obese workers missed more workdays (averaging from 1.1 to 1.7 more absences a year) compared to workers of normal weight. Overweight individuals, however who were not obese did not appear to miss any more work than their coworkers of normal weight.
The study, published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine that found a strong correlation between weight and employment productivity used standard definitions for obesity, based on height, weight, and Body Mass Index (BMI). Ironically, some states with higher than average wages that suffer the highest costs for lost productivity, have lower obesity rates such as, Washington DC, Connecticut, and New Jersey.
Creating A Healthier Workplace
Some government agencies, like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention work to promote healthier workplace environments by offering employers resources and tools to implement their own internal programs for employees. Read more on workplace health programs.
Clearly, the need for further awareness through programs and health education is there, if the U.S. and individual states are to reduce obesity-related costs to health and lost workplace productivity. Some corporations and independent organizations have already begun to support the movement toward healthier lifestyles and positive behavioral changes.
Health Education Opportunities
The Health Organization is proud to announce the creation of its newly formed scholarship award program that will present a $500 scholarship to a college or university student who has interests in nutrition, exercise, alternative therapies, or disease prevention and embodies the company’s approach to healthy living.
“Having the opportunity to contribute to a student’s education is another important way to support the future of our young people, as well as further awareness for natural health and wellness,” said Program Director.
“More and more, companies and organizations are recognizing the impact of creating a healthy work environment for employees, and I think it’s safe to say that the future workforce will not only be exposed to, but benefit from this type of change,” he adds.
The scholarship award will be offered to a student planning to attend a college or university, in fall 2018-2019 with an interest in general health, health science, natural health, nutrition, disease prevention, or a related field. Scholarship candidates are asked to submit an essay, which relates to healthy living through positive lifestyle choices such as, exercise, nutrition, stress management, or natural supplements.
The Health Organization provides current, comprehensive information and education to readers on a variety of aspects of human health. In the form of medically research-backed reports, articles, and blog segments, the company combines government studies, top-rated university research, and current U.S. and world news findings on heart health, hormone treatment and aging, nutrition, pharmaceutical interventions, and natural support through herbal supplementation.
The company further supports healthful living by offering free confidential consultation for health concerns, links to testing for most common blood, saliva, and urine screenings, connection with local board certified physician partners, high quality natural herbal solutions, vitamins, minerals, and other nutritional supplements, as well as site support through symptom checkers, quizzes, and online chat function for further questions and information.
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