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Am J Health Promot. 2006 May-Jun;20(5):353-63.

The association of two productivity measures with health risks and medical conditions in an Australian employee population.

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  • 1Health Management Research Center, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48104-1688, USA.



To investigate the impact of health on job performance using two measures of productivity loss: (1) a self-reported measure of health-related presenteeism and (2) an objective measure of absenteeism.


A cross-sectional survey using a Health Risk Appraisal (HRA) to evaluate self-reported presenteeism and the prevalence of 12 health risks and eight medical conditions.


Employees (n=224) of a private insurance provider in Australia.


A Health Risk Appraisal (HRA) questionnaire was used to evaluate self-reported presenteeism on different aspects of job demands and to assess the prevalence of 12 health risks and eight medical conditions. Illness absent hours were obtained from company administrative records.


Increased presenteeism was significantly associated with high stress, life dissatisfaction, and back pain, while increased illness absenteeism was significantly associated with overweight, poor perception of health, and diabetes. Excess presenteeism associated with excess health risks (productivity loss among those with medium- or high-risk status compared to those with low-risk status) was independently calculated at 19.0% for presenteeism and 12.8% for illness absenteeism.


This study demonstrates an association between health metrics and self-reported work impairment (presenteeism) and measured absenteeism. The study provides a first indication of the potential benefits of health promotion programming to Australian employees in improving health and to the corporation in minimizing health-related productivity loss.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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