Missed days off work because you were sick, have high blood pressure, asthma, diabetes, high cholesterol; back, knee, or neck pain? Well, sick days accrued by these illnesses typically associated with being overweight are costing the nation $153 billion in lost productivity annually, according to a Gallup study.
The study found that overweight or obese people (with three or more chronic conditions) miss 42 days per year in comparison to the 4 days missed by people with normal weight. The results did not factor in “presenteeism” (at work but not productive) data, which is also higher in overweight/obese people. Factoring in these results would increase the loss in productivity.
The high percentages of full-time U.S. workers who have less than ideal health are a significant drain on productivity for U.S. businesses. However, employees and employers have the opportunity to potentially increase productivity if they address the health issues that are currently plaguing the workplace.
The $153 billion in lost productivity estimated in this analysis would increase if it included presenteeism, which is when employees go to work but are less productive in their jobs because of poor health or wellbeing. Including part-time employees would also add to the estimate of costs in lost productivity. Other research that has examined a broader array of factors using a somewhat different list of chronic conditions places the economic effect of lost productivity at $1.1 trillion per year.
The immediate cost of all this for obese people is the medical costs, discrimination and lower wages. Check out my earlier post on the price of obesity. Get or stay healthy, feel better, and maybe even be more productive and make more money!