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April/May 2014 (vol. 10/6)
Germany loses €2.18 million in weight-related sick leave
Overweight employees take one-third (31%) more sickness absence than those of ‘normal’ weight, while obese workers take nearly twice as much (88% more) according to this cross-sectional analysis of data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (an annual general household survey). The study examined self-reported sickness absence in 2009 from 7,990 respondents aged 18–65, with participants ranked according to World Health Organization body mass index (BMI) categories. In total, 38% of respondents were overweight and 17% obese, with lower prevalences in women (27% and 15%, respectively) compared with men (47% and 19%). The simple bivariate analysis revealed a significant association between BMI and sickness absence (p < 0.001), although in the multivariate regression analysis, which adjusted for sociodemographic, work- and health-related factors, only overweight and obese women had significantly more sick leave. The annual cost to the German economy of overweight- and obesity-related sick leave is estimated at €2.18 million.
Sick Leave Days and Costs Associated With Overweight and Obesity in Germany. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine 2014; 56(1): 20–27
Occupational Health at Work April/May 2014 (vol. 10/6) pp19