Which Modifiable Health Risks Are Associated with Changes in Productivity Costs?
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Abstract : The purpose of this retrospective, longitudinal study was to assess longitudinal associations between modifiable health risks and workplace absenteeism and presenteeism and to estimate lost productivity costs. Across the 4-year study period (2007-2010), 17,089 unique employees from a large US computer manufacturer with a highly technical workforce completed at least 1 health risk assessment. Generalized estimating equation models were used to estimate the mean population-level absenteeism and presenteeism for 11 modifiable health risks and adjust for 9 sociodemographic and employment-related factors. Because patient age was highly correlated with several other variables, the analysis was stratified by age (<45 vs. ?45 years). For all ages, poor emotional health, inadequate exercise, tobacco use, and having a body mass index (BMI) greater than 35 (all P<.05) were consistently associated with both absenteeism and presenteeism. Having a BMI over 35 and poor emotional health were associated with the largest impact in absenteeism (0.46 days) and presenteeism (4.03 days), respectively. Younger and older workers had similar associations between health risks and presenteeism; however, hypertension, blood sugar, inadequate exercise, and alcohol were associated (P?.01) with greater absenteeism among older but not younger workers. The results suggest that productivity loss is strongly related to emotional health and obesity-related health risks (eg, BMI, exercise) but differs by age. These findings could help prioritize preventive health programs offered by employers at their worksite health centers. Given the aging of the US workforce, keeping older workers healthy and productive will be crucial to remaining competitive in the global economy. (Population Health Management 2014;xx:xxx-xxx).