Here is one you have probably already heard: Obesity is a problem in the United States. The red flags are being waved regarding the health hazards of being overweight or obese. We are warned that unless we shed excess pounds we increase the risk of getting diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
All this is true, and the approach and the concern behind it is logical. If we as a nation do not address the problem of expanding waistlines and sedentary lifestyles, not only are we shortening our life expectancies but reducing our quality of life, as well.
There is more to it than that, though. While the appeal for life changing practices is directed at us as individuals, the cost of our physical condition is a burden shared by the entire social network.
Lost Productivity in the Workplace Due to Obesity
"It was discovered that for every categorical increase on the body mass index scale, the amount of lost productivity at work doubled."
When a dollar amount is associated with obesity, it is most often those expenses for health care issues. Researchers at Duke University have given attention to another area regarding the cost of obesity and have arrived at a staggering number. The dollar amount for lost productivity in the workplace because of obesity is 73 billion dollars per year.
The study focused not only on absenteeism but also on presenteeism, a sub-par standard of performance due to physical constraints or an under-performance attributed to showing up at work sick. It was discovered that for every categorical increase on the body mass index scale, the amount of lost productivity at work doubled.
Women with a body mass index over 40 averaged 23 days of lost work time while on the job. The results for men were close to the same.
The very obese lose about one month of productive work per year. The cost breakdown for this non-productive time is $3,792 per year for men and $3,037 per year for women. The total cost amounts to about $30 billion dollars.
Social Expenses for Obesity
"Obese women pass expenditures to the non-obese at the rate of $3,220 per year and obese men at the rate of $967 annually."
The health care expenditures created by obese individuals have been documented often enough, but what might be less understood is the shared social expense caused by the morbidly obese. Part of the extra medical expenditures incurred by the morbidly obese is passed on to the non-obese in the form of increased taxes to provide for Medicaid and higher health insurance premiums. Obese women pass expenditures to the non-obese at the rate of $3,220 per year and obese men at the rate of $967 annually.
In addition, the general constructed environment is being changed to accommodate obese men and women. School buses are having their doors widened to accommodate heavier children, train seats are being built wider, and transit officials are now saying that upgrades will be needed on bus components to protect against safety issues due to heavier passengers.
It has also been noted that obesity has increased fuel consumption. An additional 938 million gallons of gas is now used each year due to overweight and obese individuals. The cost of this extra consumption is 4 billion dollars.
NaturalNews.com - http://www.naturalnews.com/030000_obesity_productivity.html accessed on 10-24-12
Reuters - http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/04/30/us-obesity-idUSBRE83T0C820120430 accessed on 10-24-12
Living life well-fed,
Published On: October 26, 2012