A new study has found that obese individuals suffering type 2 diabetes are not as effective at the workplace as their normal-weight counterparts.
"We obtained information directly from individuals on how effective they were at the workplace to provide their perspective of the impact of diabetes and obesity on patients' lives," said study co-author Kathleen Fox, Ph.D.
In a survey of 7,338 working adults with or at risk for diabetes, participants answered questions about missed work time, reduced on-the-job effectiveness and impairment in daily activities.
The analysis found that being obese and having diabetes predicted on-the-job problems with productivity.
Fox said that obese people with type 2 diabetes experienced the most work impairment, losing 11 percent to 15 percent of work time - about 5.9 hours per week - because of health problems that affected productivity on the job.
On the other hand, normal-weight participants at low risk for diabetes reported losing only 9 percent of work time - about 3.6 hours per week - due to health problems.
Obese workers with type 2 diabetes also experienced the most problems off the job, reporting impairment during 20 percent to 34 percent of their daily activities, like shopping, exercising and childcare.
"From an employer's perspective, this study provides evidence that workplace wellness programs that include weight loss and weight management would be beneficial for obese employees with or at risk for diabetes," Fox said.
The study appears in the May/June issue of the American Journal of Health Promotion.