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Obese individuals carry greater health and financial risk

The Cost of Obesity

Is your weight affecting your success?

Did you know that being at a healthy weight could make you better at your job? If you are struggling to stay focused or be productive, it might be time to consider your Body Mass Index (BMI).

A recent study measured productivity in Australians who were at a healthy weight, overweight and obese, and the study revealed your weight might be affecting your success. But to understand the impact of obesity on work, it’s important to understand how being overweight or obese impacts health.

Take a look at this list from the Center for Disease Control of the health conditions that you are at higher risk of if you are overweight or obese:

All-causes of death (mortality).

High blood pressure (hypertension).

High LDL cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol, or high levels of triglycerides (dyslipidemia).

Type 2 diabetes.

Coronary heart disease.


Gallbladder disease.

Osteoarthritis (a breakdown of cartilage and bone within a joint).

Sleep apnea and breathing problems.

Many types of cancer.

Low quality of life.

Mental illness such as clinical depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders.

Body pain and difficulty with physical functioning.

Now, consider how many of these health concerns affect your ability to be successful at your job. It’s likely all of these health issues would seriously affect your productivity. The research on productivity and obesity found that those who were at a healthy weight missed an average of 4.25 days annually. In comparison, participants who were overweight missed 4.48 days annually and participants who were obese missed 5.62 days a year.

These numbers may look small at first, but consider this on a larger scale. Weight gain doesn’t only affect YOUR success. It also affects the success of companies and communities. Productivity in a community often drives its economy.

Looking at income earnings, tax revenue and gross domestic product (GDP) can show the economic impact of obesity on productivity. Researchers used these different numbers to run an analysis of where obesity is now. According to the research, it is likely Australia is losing $17.0 trillion annually due to weight concerns. If there was even a 5% reduction in new cases of obesity in Australia, it could lead to $262 million more in GDP.

Looking at those days and hours in terms of money loss really amplifies the impact of weight on productivity. But what can you do about it? Check out a few of our resources on weight management & BMI:

– Plan for a healthier life

– Understand what your weight really means

Looking for other health resources? Check out our blog here or subscribe to our app!


Estimating the benefits of obesity prevention on productivity: an Australian perspective 

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