A longitudinal study on the relationship between weight loss, medical expenditures, and absenteeism among overweight employees in the WAY to Health study
Finkelstein, E., Linnan, L. A., Tate, D. F., & Leese, P. J. (2009). A longitudinal study on the relationship between weight loss, medical expenditures, and absenteeism among overweight employees in the WAY to Health study. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 51(12), 1367-1373. https://doi.org/10.1097/JOM.0b013e3181c2bb56
To quantify the extent to which successful weight loss among overweight/obese employees translates into subsequent savings in medical expenditures and absenteeism.
This analysis relied on medical claims and absenteeism data collected from overweight/obese employees at 17 community colleges in North Carolina.
We find no evidence that participants achieving at least a 5% weight loss experienced reduced medical expenditures or lower absenteeism during the 12-month weight loss intervention or in the subsequent 2 years.
These results suggest that a quick return on investment from weight loss programs, even effective ones, is unlikely. Nevertheless, as with other employee benefit decisions, the decision about whether to offer weight loss programs should take into account many factors, such as employee health, in addition to the potential for a quick return on investment.