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Monday, 22 April 2013 14:24

Direct Cost Of Obesity In The Workplace

Written by  CMWM

On January 1 2010, Dr. Adam Gilden Tsai, with a grant from the National Institutes of Health, published an updated report on the medical cost of overweight and obesity in the United States. According to Dr. Tsai's study, in 2008 the "aggregate national cost of overweight and obesity combined was $113.9 billion." The U.S. Center For Disease Control's study puts these numbers even higher, at $147B. Dr. Tsai estimates the annual cost per person of overweight ($266) and obesity ($1723).

Cost Of Obesity In The Workplace

obese03112002214340The two studies show that direct costs of overweight and obesity have more than doubled since the last government study released in 1998. Costs have risen more than 100%, from $56B to $113B. According to Dr. Tsai, "the direct medical cost of overweight and obesity combined is approximately 5.0% to 10% of US healthcare spending."

A recent NIH study by Dr. Erik Finkelstein estimated the cost to employers of obesity. According to Finkelstein's study results, "Overweight and obesity-attributable costs range from $175 per year for overweight male employees to $2485 per year for grade-II obese female employees. The costs of obesity (excluding overweight) at a firm with 1000 employees are estimated to be $285,000 per year."

Dr. Finkelstein concludes, "Successful efforts to reduce the prevalence of obesity, especially among those with a body mass index greater than 35, could result in significant savings to employers."

"Successful efforts to reduce the prevalence of obesity ... could result in significant savings to employers."

Another recent government study shows the cost of obesity is now much higher than smoking ($1300 vs. $5500). (Related: Wall St. Journal article.)

Reducing Health Care Costs In The Workplace

To reduce the cost of health care in the workplace, many companies now offer employees corporate wellness testing and programs. This article on Forbes.com has more information, including details about the Affordable Health Care Act (Obamacare) that offers benefits to employers.

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