A new study is providing more evidence that everyone has a stake in the health of our citizens, including employers. According to this study, obese people take more sick days off from work than their healthier counterparts.
In the British study, the obese workers took nine days off from work on average every year as compared to those at a healthy weight who took off an average of five.
While it is well-known that obesity causes long-term health problems such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, there are short-term problems as well. This may include longer recovery times from the flu.
The researchers hope that these findings will shine a light on the problem and encourage employers to provide incentives to their employees to lose weight.
“Employers are in quite a unique position to contribute to the public health message and interventions around obesity and trying to reduce levels of obesity,” said study researcher Samuel Harvey, a psychiatrist at King’s College London. “Our hope is that by demonstrating the economic cost to them of obesity amongst their workforce that that will help motivate employers to get involved in thinking about this problem.”
Previous studies have found a link between obesity and employees taking sick days. The difference with the current study is that it distinguishes between short- and long-term absences from work.