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Eating Healthier May Lower Cost Of Obesity

October 19, 2010 by  

Eating healthier may lower cost of obesityIndividuals may want to consider eating healthier as new research shows the cost of obesity in the U.S. is growing for employers.

Scientists at Duke University found that obesity costs employers more than $73 billion for their full-time workers. The research was the first of its kind to prove that the loss of job productivity due to health problems caused by obesity, such as an absence from work, is higher than medical expenses.

Researchers also looked at productivity lost to presenteeism, which is when employees start or end their day early and are unproductive because they are not feeling well.

The scientists discovered that the per capita cost for obese women, who are about 100 pounds overweight, was approximately $16,900. The per capita cost for men in this category was $15,500.

According to the research, presenteeism was the highest cost for obesity, which accounted for up to 56 percent of lost productivity for women and 68 percent for men.

Eric Finkelstein, who led the study, said that "employers should consider both the medical and productivity costs of obesity when thinking about investments in weight management or other wellness programs." He added that encouraging "participation in health behavior activities" like gym attendance or walk-a-thons can make for a healthier lifestyle among employees. 

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