Credible research abounds on obesity/absence link

Richard Essery may be right in arguing that his sedentary lifestyle is a personal matter, but he is wrong in his assertion that there is no credible research linking obesity and increased workplace absence (Letters, Personnel Today, 11 September).

A quick search on the authoritative clinical database PubMed returns:

  • a Dutch study suggesting that obese staff are absent 14 days more each year than their non-obese counterparts (Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Sept 2007 49(9): 975-80)
  • a US study linking obesity and the incidence of short-term workplace disability (Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Nov 2006 48(11): 1118-24)
  • an epidemiological study of 10,825 employed adults, which shows that obese employees were more than twice as likely to experience high-level absenteeism, and 1.49 times more likely to suffer from moderate absenteeism than lean employees (American Journal of Health Promotion, Jan-Feb 1998 12(3): 202-7).

There are plenty more, but isn’t that enough ‘balanced, objective, credible academics’ to convince most people that there is some sort of link?

Mark Crail
Managing editor,
IRS

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