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Study Says Obese Workers Are Less Productive

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(BUFFALO, N.Y.) -- Aside from the health risks associated with obesity, those who are grossly overweight are also at a disadvantage at the workplace, according to a joint University of Buffalo-Virginia Tech study.

The researchers had about three dozen people perform a series of tasks that involved hand gripping, elevating the shoulders and an exercise where they pretended to perform on an assembly line.

Participants were male and female, young and old, obese and non-obese. After completion of the tasks, which involved breaks, those who were obese performed worse than the others.

The researchers say this would likely mean in real-work settings that obese employees are less productive, more susceptible to injury and need longer breaks than their co-workers.

The study’s authors are not advocating employers replace their obese workers but instead “make adjustments to the extent that [the workers] have a skill which is necessary, useful and in demand.”

They admit the answer is not making bigger desks or chairs but to encourage wellness programs, gym memberships and other ways of living healthier.

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