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Obesity’s Workplace Burden

The negative effects of obesity are many—ranging from personal health problems to global healthcare costs. A fresh report from Yale University’s Rudd Center has found that obesity also takes a significant financial toll in the workplace.

Obesity-related absenteeism has been costing the United States $8.65 billion per year in lost productivity, according to the report. Researchers calculated this staggering number by analyzing data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance.

“Understanding all economic costs of obesity, including lost productivity, is critical for policymakers working on obesity prevention at any level,” explained lead author Tatiana Andreyeva, the Rudd Center’s director of economic initiatives. “Quantifying not just obesity-related health care costs but also economic costs is essential for informed decision making.”

The study was published in the Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine (2014; 56 [11], 1120–27).

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