Send to

Choose Destination
Am J Health Promot. 1998 Jan-Feb;12(3):202-7.

Obesity and absenteeism: an epidemiologic study of 10,825 employed adults.

Author information

Department of Physical Education, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah 84602, USA.



This study was conducted to determine the extent of the relationship between obesity and absenteeism due to illness. A secondary objective was to ascertain the extent to which age, gender, family income, length of workweek, and cigarette smoking influenced the obesity-absenteeism association.


A cross-sectional design was used. Data regarding obesity, absenteeism, and the potential confounding factors were collected during the same time period.


Data were collected within workplaces throughout the U.S., and at the headquarters of Health Advancement Services, Inc. (HAS).


Subjects were 10,825 employed men and women who participated in an ongoing wellness screening program administered by HAS.


The three-site skinfold technique was used to estimate body fat percentage. Absenteeism due to illness and the potential confounding variables were assessed using a structured paper-pencil questionnaire.


Without controlling for any potential confounders, obese employees were more than twice as likely to experience high-level absenteeism (seven or more absences due to illness during the past 6 months), and 1.49 times more likely to suffer from moderate absenteeism (three to six absences due to illness during the last 6 months) than were lean employees. With all of the potential confounders controlled simultaneously, obese employees were 1.74 and 1.61 times more likely to experience high and moderate levels of absenteeism, respectively, than were lean individuals.


Obese employees tend to be absent from work due to illness substantially more than their counterparts.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon
Loading ...
Support Center