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Diet Quality & Absenteeism

Posted on 12th June 2019

Obesity and related diseases such as stroke, CVD and diabetes have been linked to absenteeism and productivity loss in the workplace, generating substantial costs for societies and employers. In 2009, Irish businesses incurred productivity loss of €865 million, due to overweight and obesity, with absenteeism being the main driver. In 2011 it was reported that absenteeism was costing Irish businesses €1·5 billion per year.

An Irish study including over 500 employees in 2016 investigated what health status outcomes and adverse lifestyle factors such as smoking, lack of exercise and poor diet influence workplace absenteeism. It indicated central obesity increased absence rates by 72% and that by consuming a high-quality diet and engaging in moderate levels of physical activity were associated with a reduction in absenteeism. It was therefore concluded that workplace health promotion policies should be incorporate recommendations designed to prevent and manage excess weight, improve diet quality and increase physical activity levels of employees, to reduce absenteeism.

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Fitzgerald, S., Kirby, A., Murphy, A. and Geaney, F., 2016. Obesity, diet quality and absenteeism in a working population. [online] Available at: <https://www.cambridge.org