How obesity affects your business

What is obesity costing your organisation

Obesity and weight issues are a significant problem for a lot of developed countries around the world. The media and researchers are talking about this growing issue, but what action is being taken at an organisations level? Moreover, what are the actual effects and cost of obesity on our companies?

A study by Finkelstein et al. (2010) on quantity expenditure and value lost in productivity relative to obesity identifies that individuals with a BMI of 35+, while only representing 37% of the obese population, are responsible for 61% of costs resulting from excess weight. Successful efforts to reduce the prevalence of obesity, especially among those with a body mass index of 35+, can result in significant savings to employers.

Across all full-time employees, the estimated value of medical expenditures, absenteeism, and presenteeism resulting from obesity was $73.1 billion per year; 82% of this expense was recognised as medical expenditures and lost presenteeism cost, and 18% resulted from increased absenteeism (Finkelstein et al. 2010).

A study by Gifford (2015) on the relationship between unhealthy body weight and productivity outcomes concludes that the higher an employee’s BMI category, the worse their health and productivity outcomes are. Gifford also found that 50% of employees in the obese group are more likely to report “a lot” of stress and 32% are more likely to report being depressed, heightening the importance of employee mental health programs and response rates of employers.

How to make a difference

Improved health, stress, and psychological distress reduced illness absence and presenteeism among overweight and obese employees, and those who lose weight will show an increase in presenteeism.

Help your employees to manage their health sustainably, intervention at the organisation level is found to be an effective way to reduce health inequalities in the working population (Schreuder et al. 2008). SiSU Health Group has helped businesses around the world lose a net weight of 7,342.4kg. Ask us today about our Employee Health Program and save not only on your bottom line but the health of your employees.




Finkelstein, E, daCosta DiBonaventura, M, Burgess, Hale, B 2010, ‘The Costs of Obesity in the Workplace’, Journal of JOEM, vol. 52, no.10, pp.971. Available from:

Gifford, B 2015, ‘Unhealthy Body Weight, Illness Absence, Presenteeism, Medical Payments, and Disability Leave: A Longitudinal View’, Journal of Population Health Management, vol. 18, no.4. Available from:

Schreuder, K.J, Roelen, C.A.M. Koopmans, P.C, Groothoff, J.W 2008, ‘Job demands and health complaints in white and blue-collar workers’, Journal of Work, vol. 31, no. 4, pp.425-432. Available from: