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  • Researchers Honored for Outstanding Contribution to Medical Literature on the Costs of Obesity Among Employees

    Study finds employees with higher BMI levels generate more costs/absences and lower productivity

    The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM), an international medical society, honored Nathan Kleinman, PhD, and colleagues, with the Kammer Merit in Authorship Award on May 3 during its 2015 American Occupational Health Conference in Baltimore, Md. This award recognizes an outstanding scientific contribution published in ACOEM’s Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (JOEM) during a given year.

    NKleinmanLead author Dr. Kleinman of xG Health Solutions, Columbia, Md., and his colleagues were acknowledged for their paper “Cohort Analysis Assessing Medical and Nonmedical Cost Associated with Obesity in the Workplace,” which appeared in the February 2014 issue of JOEM.

    Dr. Kleinman and colleagues quantified the impact of employee overweight and obesity on costs, absence days, and self-reported productivity. This was the first study to report all-cause turnover rates and appears to be the first to measure all types of health-related absence costs from payroll and claims systems rather than from salary estimates or self-reported information. The authors concluded that “because weight loss is a difficult battle, there is a need for access to appropriate weight management strategies and coordination between patients, clinicians, and the workplace for successful outcomes.”

    “This study is important as it gives a comprehensive overview of the cost of obesity among a large number (1.7M) of U.S. employees through its effects on direct medical and pharmacy costs, sick leave, short- and long-term disability, workers’ compensation, and absence days and productivity, providing a measure of the potential ROI to employers of investing in obesity reduction and prevention,” said JOEM Editor Paul Brandt-Rauf, MD.

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    Citation — Kleinman N, Abouzaid S, Andersen L, Wang Z, Powers A. Cohort analysis assessing medical and nonmedical cost associated with obesity in the workplace. J Occup Environ Med. 2014;56(2):161-70. Open access article.

    About ACOEM — Founded in 1916, ACOEM represents nearly 4,500 physicians who specialize in occupational and environmental medicine and who are dedicated to promoting the health of workers through preventive medicine, clinical care, disability management, research, and education. The Kammer Merit in Authorship Award recognizes articles of outstanding significance published in JOEM during a given year. The award is named for Adolph G. Kammer, MD (1903-1962), first editor of JOEM. For more information, visit www.acoem.org.

    About the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine— The Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (www.joem.org) is the official journal of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Edited to serve as a guide for physicians, nurses, and researchers, the clinically oriented research articles are an excellent source for new ideas, concepts, techniques, and procedures that can be readily applied to the industrial or commercial employment setting.