Believe it or not, obese workers cost their employers more than smokers. People, who smoke, cost their employers an additional $1,300 per year in health costs. In contrast, obese workers cost their employers nearly $1,900 more.
A study from the Mayo Clinic evaluated the data from more than 30,000 current and retired employees from the clinic, who had continuous health insurance between the years 2001 and 2007. The study found that both smoking and obesity raised health care costs, but the surprising finding was that obesity raised them more. The average year cost for smokers were $1,275 higher than non-smokers. Obese workers cost employers $1,850 more than normal weight employees. This cost sky-rocketed for those people who were morbidly obese. They cost their employers an additional $5,500 per year.
This is a wake-up call for employers wanting to cut health care costs. Weight loss programs are not just a nice-to-have, but a real necessity if an employer wants to keep their health costs down. The chronic conditions of obesity are difficult and costly to treat once they take hold. Prevention is important in order to keep costs at bay.
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