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The Relationship of Body Mass Index, Medical Costs, and Job Absenteeism

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Objectives: To assess the relationship between body mass index, as categorized by the recently released guidelines of the NHLBI, and health care costs and absenteeism in a sample of municipal workers. Methods: A cross-sectional study was employed that compared the obesity-related health care costs and absences of normal and overweight/obese city workers. Results: While accounting for age, gender, race, smoking behavior, and educational attainment, BMI predicted both average annual health-care costs and work absence hours. Conclusions: The NHLBI guidelines for overweight and obesity effectively predicted absences and health care costs.

Keywords: absenteeism; medical expenses; obesity

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Health Promotion, University of Nevada-Las Vegas, Las Vegas, NV. 2: Arlington, TX. 3: Department of Kinesiology, Health Promotion and Recreation-UNT, Denton, TX.

Publication date: 2003-07-01

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  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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