SEARCH

Entries in Fat (1)

Friday
Oct082010

Obesity Costs Employers Billions

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(DURHAM, N.C.) -- Obese Americans have increased the cost of health care, according to recent studies, but the doctor's office isn't the only place where obesity ups expenses: The workplace is another. Research released Friday by Duke University found the cost to employers of obesity among full-time employees was $73.1 billion a year.

Using survey data from the 2006 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey and the 2008 U.S. National Health and Wellness Survey, the Duke researchers estimated the extent to which obesity-related health problems affected absenteeism, work productivity and medical costs.

While previous estimates looked mainly at the direct health care costs of obesity, lead researcher Eric Finkelstein, deputy director for health services and systems research at Duke-National University of Singapore, and his colleagues found that "presenteeism," or the lost productivity incurred when employees try to work despite health problems, cost employers a whopping $12.1 billion per year, nearly twice as much as their medical costs.

Presenteeism was also the biggest cost among employees of healthy weight, but researchers found that obese workers accounted for a disproportionately larger share of overall presenteeism, absenteeism and medical expenses.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the yearly medical costs of obesity are estimated at $147 billion, a figure that has ballooned of late, growing by more than 80 percent over a five-year period, recent studies found.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio