Quotation Bilger, Marcel, Finkelstein, Eric Andrew, Kruger, Eliza, Tate, Deborah, Linnan, Laura. 2013. The effect of weight loss on health, productivity and medical expenditures among overweight employees. Medical Care. 51 (6), 471




Objectives: To test whether overweight or obese employees who achieve clinically significant weight loss of ≥5% have reduced medical expenditures, absenteeism, presenteeism, and/or improved Health-Related Quality Of Life (HRQOL). Methods: The sample analyzed combines data from full-time overweight or obese employees who took part in one of the WAY to Health weight loss studies: 1 that took place in 17 community colleges (935 employees) and another in 12 universities (933), all in North Carolina. The estimations are performed using nonlinear difference-in-difference models where groups are identified by whether the employee achieved a ≥5% weight loss (treated) or not (control) and the treatment variable indicates preweight and postweight loss intervention. The outcomes analyzed are the average quarterly (90 d) amount of medical claims paid by the health insurer, number of days missed at work during the past month, Stanford Presenteeism Scale SPS-6, and the EQ-5D-3L measure of HRQOL. Results: We find statistical evidence supporting that ≥5% weight loss prevents deterioration in EQ-5D-3L scores by 0.026 points (P-value=0.03) and reduces both absenteeism by 0.258 d/mo (P-value=0.093) and the likelihood of showing low presenteeism (Stanford SPS-6 score between 7 and 9) by 2.9 percentage points (P-value=0.083). No reduction in medical expenditures was observed. Conclusions: Clinically significant weight loss among overweight or obese employees prevents short-term deterioration in HRQOL and there is some evidence that employee productivity is increased. We find no evidence of a quick return on investment from reduced medical expenditures, although this may occur over longer periods.


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Publication's profile

Status of publication Published
Affiliation External
Type of publication Journal article
Journal Medical Care
Citation Index SCI
Language English
Title The effect of weight loss on health, productivity and medical expenditures among overweight employees
Volume 51
Number 6
Year 2013
Page from 471
Reviewed? Y
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/MLR.0b013e318286e437
Open Access Y
Open Access Link https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3654027/


Bilger, Marcel (Details)
Finkelstein, Eric Andrew (Duke-NUS Medical School, Singapore)
Kruger, Eliza (Duke-NUS Medical School, Singapore)
Linnan, Laura (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, United States/USA)
Tate, Deborah (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, United States/USA)
Health Economics and Policy Group AB (Details)
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