Weight change and workplace absenteeism in the healthworks study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Objective: Little is known about the relationship between weight change and workplace absenteeism. The purpose of this study was to examine the degree to which weight change predicted 2-year absenteeism. Methods: A longitudinal analysis of 1,228 employees enrolled in a worksite-randomized controlled trial was performed. Participants were all working adults in the Minneapolis, MN, area (USA). Results: The final model indicated a significant interaction between weight change and baseline BMI. The difference in absenteeism ranged from (mean ± SE) 3.2 ± 1.2 days among healthy weight employees who maintained their weight to 6.6 ± 1.1 days among obese employees who gained weight (and slightly higher among healthy weight employees who lost weight). The adjusted model also indicated that participants who were male, not depressed, nonsmokers, and had lower baseline absenteeism had significantly less workplace absenteeism relative to participants who were female, depressed, smokers, and had higher baseline absenteeism. Conclusion: Absenteeism was generally low in this sample, but healthy weight employees who maintained their body weight over 2 years had the fewest number of sick days. More research is needed in this area, but future workforce attendance interventions may be improved by focusing on the primary prevention of weight gain in healthy weight employees.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)745-752
Number of pages8
JournalObesity Facts
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2012


  • Absenteeism
  • Body weight
  • Environment
  • Workplace


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