This study reviews the recent literature on the relationship between obesity and indirect (non-medical) costs. Medline and Web of Science searches were conducted to identify published studies from 1992 to present that report indirect costs by obesity status; 31 studies were included. The indirect costs were grouped into six categories: costs associated with absenteeism, disability, premature mortality, presenteeism, workers' compensation, and total indirect costs. Compared with non-obese workers, obese workers miss more workdays due to illness, injury, or disability. Costs of premature mortality vary substantially across countries. The results for presenteeism and workers' compensation were mixed. More research is needed to determine obesity's causal role in increasing indirect costs, especially for workers' compensation and presenteeism. Cohort and longitudinal study designs should be a priority.
Indirect costs of obesity: A review of the current literature