Obese people are less productive in the workplace, claims a
new research. The study adds that they get injured easily and need longer rest
breaks than employees of normal weight.
The study was conducted at Virgina Tech
and the University
. The researchers examined how people of different weights
accomplished work tasks and found that obese people had about 40 percent
shorter endurance times.
Of the 32 people studied include young and non-obese, young
and obese, either old and obese and old and non-obese.
The participants were required to finish three tasks: hand
gripping, elevating their shoulders, and a stimulated assembly operation.
Every task involved both work and recess. Obese women
performed the worst, though overall, those in the obese group struggled the
Lora Cavuoto, an assistant professor in the department of
industrial and systems engineering at the University of Buffalo, said that one
average, approximately 40 percent shorter endurance time were found in the
overweight group, with the largest difference in the hand grip and simulated
"Workers who are obese may need longer rest breaks to come
back to their initial state of muscle function. Based on the increased fatigue
found among workers who are obese, workplace designers may need to think about
adding fixtures and supports to minimize the amount of time that body mass
segments need to be supported. We believe our results will help to develop more
inclusive ergonomic guidelines," Cavuoto added.
The researchers estimate that the effect on businesses is up
to $1,000 to $6,000 in costs for each overweight employee. That's because
companies have to provide specially- designed, larger chairs that can cost over
$1,000. They also have to think about buying stronger toilets and larger desk
spaces. Not to mention the loss of productivity.
The study was
published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene.