Obese People are Less Productive in the Workplace, Need Longer Breaks to Rest: Study

by Vishnuprasad on Jul 28 2014 5:08 PM

 Obese People are Less Productive in the Workplace, Need Longer Breaks to Rest: Study
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 of Buffalo. 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 most.

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 assembly tasks.

“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.



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