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Obese workers much more likely to miss work.

Obesity and morbid obesity are associated with increased rates of work absenteeism and cost U.S. employers an estimated $4.3 billion per year in lost productivity, according to a study published in the December 2007 issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Using health data, the study authors determined that 29 percent of men and women are obese, defined as a body mass index (a measure of body fat based on weight and height) of 30 or higher. Of the obese, 8 percent of women and 6 percent of men are morbidly obese, meaning their body mass index is 40 or higher.

Obese women were found to be 61 percent more likely to miss work time than women of healthy weight. For morbidly obese women, the figure rose to 118 percent.

For women, obesity was linked to missed work time across all occupational categories; for men, the relationship varied by occupation. Women in the "professional" occupational category accounted for 28 percent of obesity-related costs, while men in the "managerial" category accounted for 37 percent.

The researchers estimated the total costs of obesity-related absenteeism in the United States at $4.3 billion (in 2004 dollars). Female workers accounted for about three-fourths of the total, or $3.2 billion. All told, obesity accounts for more than 9 percent of the total costs of work absenteeism.

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Prevalence of Alcohol Problems by Industry Sector

Industry Sector                    Male   Female   Overall

Leisure/Hospitality/Arts           17.4    12.6      15.0
Construction/Mining                15.2    10.0      14.7
Wholesale Trade                    14.6     5.3      11.9
Professional                       13.3     7.1      10.6
Retail Trade                       13.4     6.2       9.7
Finance/Real Estate                11.2     7.6       9.2
Manufacturing                       9.5     6.5       8.6
Transportation/Utilities            9.1     4.8       8.2
Information/Communication          12.7     4.8       8.1
Agriculture/Forestry/Fishing        8.7     1.9       7.2
Other Services                      8.9     3.8       6.4
Education/Health/Social Services    9.4     4.3       5.4
Public Administration               6.4     4.1       5.3

SOURCE: Ensuring Solutions to Alcohol Problems, 2008
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Publication:The Journal of Employee Assistance
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 1, 2008
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