Dibetes, Obesity and the Workplace

A study in the U.S. recently found that there was a big difference in the way and the amount that people who had diabetes and were also obese worked compared to those who were of lower weight and didn’t have diabetes or had controlled diabetes..

Researchers surveyed 7,338 working adults about missed work time, reduced work effectiveness and experienced 20 to 34 percent of impairment of daily activities. The results they discovered showed that people who were obese and had type 2 diabetes lost 11 to 15 percent of work time (about 5.9 hours a week) because of health problems, compared with 9 percent of work time (about 3.6 hours a week) lost by people in a lower weight range.

The survey also found that obese people with type 2 diabetes rreported difficulty and obstacles in doing daily activities such as working with children, shoppng and exercising.and experienced 20 to 34 percent of impairment of daily activities in general.. he findings are in the May/June issue of the American Journal of Health Promotion.

“From an employer’s perspective, this study provides evidence that workplace wellness programs that include weight loss and weight management would be beneficial for obese employees with or at risk for diabetes,” Kathleen Fox, president of Strategic Healthcare Solutions and a co-author of the study, said in a news release from the Center for the Advancement of Health.

The study supports previously published research that found “the heavier people are, the most lost productivity at work,” Anne Wolf, an instructor at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, who specializes in researching the economic effects of obesity, said in the news release. This study was different, she said, in that it found an independent effect of diabetes on worker productivity.

“Employers who spend money in a lifestyle intervention will find their investment returned to them in the form of increased productivity and reduced absenteeism,” Wolf said.

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