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J Occup Environ Med. 2005 Dec;47(12):1227-34.

Lost productive time associated with excess weight in the U.S. workforce.

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  • 1Caremark, Hunt Valley, Maryland 21031, USA.



The objective of this study was to examine health-related lost productive time (LPT) in overweight and obese workers.


Cross-sectional study using data from a national telephone survey of the U.S. workforce. Body mass index defined normal-weight, overweight, and obese workers. LPT in hours and dollars was compared among the three groups.


Obese workers (42.3%) were significantly (P<0.0001) more likely to report LPT in the previous 2 weeks than normal-weight (36.4%) or overweight workers (34.7%). Health status mediated the relation between obesity and LPT. Obese workers cost an estimated $42.29 billion in LPT, an excess of $11.70 billion compared with normal-weight workers. Presenteeism accounted for 67.8% of the cost. Comparatively, overweight workers were not a significant source of excess LPT.


Reducing excess weight in the workforce and improving the health of obese workers could positively impact U.S. workforce productivity.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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