Obesity Fattens Expenses for employers

An obese employee costs an additional $460 to $2,500 annually in medical expenditures and work absences, compared with a normal-weight worker, according to a new report.published in the September/October issue of the American Journal of Health Promotion.

The higher expenses are paid by:

  • all employees, who end up paying higher health-care premiums;

  • by employers, if they must hire replacement workers or pick up a larger share of insurance costs; and

  • the obese employees themselves, if they aren’t paid for their time off. An obese person is somone 30 or more pounds over a healthy weight.

A company with 1,000 employees can expect pay about $285,000 a year in additional medical costs and absenteeism because of obesity. Roughly 30 percent of that cost involves increased absences. The report was written by economists at RTI International, a nonprofit think tank, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Ira S Wolfe