Study: Obese workers tend to have more sick days than healthy counterparts


Healthier workers are more productive.

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A recently conducted study on overweight workers found that obese workers tend to take more sick days compared to their healthier colleagues.

The study conducted by researchers at the Hamburg Centre for Health Economics says that increased ‘sickie’ rate has significant impact to productivity.

Researchers studied almost 8000 overweight workers and found that obese workers took almost ninety percent more sick days than healthy workers. Those overweight took about 31 percent more sick days than healthier workers. It was also revealed that the duration of sick leaves for obese workers was longer than non-obese workers.

The study suggested that obesity contributes largely to absenteeism, disability, and premature mortality.

The results of the study prompted WorkCover NSW to remind workers and businesses of having a health program to prevent obesity which may lead to more sick days.

“Australian research, however, suggests successful health programs could see business experience up to three times more productivity, less sick leave and injuries, as well as higher morale. Research also reveals healthy workers are fitter, more aware, alert and resilient against illnesses, and less likely to sustain manual handling injuries and strains,” said WorkCover in a news release.

WorkCover’s Get Healthy at Work program provides businesses with tools, resources and support necessary to develop a simple workplace health program. The program also offers free health checks to educate workers about their risk of type 2 diabetes and other cardiovascular diseases.

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