Obesity and chronic health conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes cost Britain £20 billion a year in terms of lost productivity, analysis by the polling firm Gallup has found.Overweight and obese workers with no chronic problems take twice as many days off as comparable workers of a healthy weight, found the survey of almost 9,000 people.
Those who were overweight or obese and had three or more chronic health problems took 12 times as many sick days as healthy weight individuals with no health problems, or 18 compared to 1.5.
The survey was conducted by Gallup and Healthways, a firm that runs fitness centres.
It also found obesity alone counts for six lost work days per worker each year – or over £1,200 in lost productivity.
Ben Leedle, president and chief executive of Healthways, said it showed that the level of chronic disease in the UK workforce was at “alarming levels”.
He said: “Employers who recognize the importance of improving well-being at the workplace are most likely to gain a competitive advantage.”