Lost productivity because of missing work due to health problems costs the U.S. $84 billion each year, according to a new report from Gallup-Healthways.
The report shows that the amount of money from health-related lost absenteeism varies from profession to profession, with missed days from professionals (not including doctors, nurses or teachers) costing the U.S. $24.2 billion a year, and missed days from agricultural workers costing the U.S. $160 million a year.
Being overweight or obese, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, asthma, depression, neck/back/leg pain, cancer, diabetes and heart attack were all considered chronic health conditions linked with the absenteeism.
“As employers increasingly engage in improving the health of their workers, substantial potential savings remain on the table from getting more employees to work each day as their health improves over time,” the researchers wrote in the report.
The findings are based on the results of 94,000 interviews conducted through 2012, among U.S. adults working 30 or more hours a week. The interviews included questions like “During the past 30 days, for about how many days did poor health keep you from doing your usual activities?”
Of all the people surveyed, about 77 percent of them were either overweight or obese, or had at least one chronic health condition.
Of the 14 job types included in the report — including teachers, nurses, doctors, business owners, manufacturing workers, service workers, executives and foresters — transportation workers had the worst health, researchers found. Meanwhile, doctors were found to have the best health.
However, this new Gallup report shows a slightly more positive picture than a similar report that came out in 2011. In the previous report, more than 86 percent of people surveyed were either obese or overweight or had at least one chronic health condition. In addition, that report showed lost productivity from health issues cost the U.S. $153 billion a year — less than the number reported in the newest Gallup report.