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17 November 2014

Obesity costs US billions in lost productivity

Obesity among workers in the United States is costing the nation $8.65 billion a year in lost productivity, according to a study.

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The study by Yale University researchers is the first to give state-level estimates of the cost of worker absenteeism due to obesity.

Absenteeism obesity related

Those costs ranged from $14.4 million in Wyoming to $907 million in California, it said, adding that obesity accounts for 9.3 percent of all absenteeism costs nationwide.

Read: An apple a day could keep obesity away

"Understanding all economic costs of obesity, including lost productivity, is critical for policymakers working on obesity prevention at any level," said lead author Tatiana Andreyeva.

Health reasons

The report said overweight people often had to miss work for health reasons.

"Quantifying not just obesity-related health care costs, but also economic costs, is essential for informed decision-making," she added in a statement.

Read: Type 2 diabetes in children: an emerging epidemic

Nearly 35 percent of American adults are obese, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, which estimates the annual medical cost of obesity at $147 billion.

The Yale study appears in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

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Image: Obese man in front of TV from Shutterstock

 
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