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Unhealthy, overweight Americans cost $153 billion in lost work

October 17, 2011 |  4:09 pm

Full-time workers in the U.S. who are overweight or obese and have chronic health problems such as high blood pressure or asthma cause $153 billion in lost productivity each year, according to a new Gallup poll.

That’s nearly four times the amount reported in Britain, according to the report, which found that such Americans have 450 million more days of of absenteeism than their healthy colleagues.

More than 68% of all U.S. workers, regardless of weight, have at least one chronic condition such as diabetes or depression, according to Gallup. Healthy Americans of normal weight make up less than 14% of the population and take about four sick days a year.

The rest of the 109,875 workers surveyed from Jan. 2 to Oct. 2 were overweight, obese and/or suffering from an ongoing health issue.

About 18% of U.S. workers are overweight or obese and saddled with three or more health conditions -- costing $81 billion in lost work over the 42 sick days each takes on average every year, according to Gallup.


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Photo credit: Brian Vander Brug / Los Angeles Times