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Binge eating reduces employee productivity

It appears overeating isn’t just bad for your health—it’s also bad for your productivity. According to a U.S. study by Wellness & Prevention, Inc., published in the April issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, there is a significant association between binge eating and impairment of work productivity.

The study evaluated health risk assessment (HRA) responses of 46,818 adult employees and found that 9.4% of respondents reported binge eating. Frequent binge eating was the third-highest health risk associated with excess productivity impairment, while depression and stress were the top two associated risks.

Based on the data, researchers estimated that a company of 1,000 employees experiences an annual productivity loss of $107,965 due to binge eating.

An increasingly obese workforce has many cost implications for employers, including the indirect costs that result from decreased employee work productivity, as well as the direct costs from increased use of healthcare services by employees. The health implications for obese individuals are numerous, as well: increased potential for chronic illness, disability, elevated healthcare costs, decreased earning potential, shortened life expectancy and a diminished quality of life.

“These findings suggest that efforts to improve the health, productivity and performance of employee populations should include routine screenings and interventions for binge eating behavior,” said Richard Bedrosian, director of behavioral health and solution development with Wellness & Prevention, Inc. “The inclusion of questions about binge eating in HRAs can be a valuable tool for identifying individuals who binge eat, and who may not otherwise seek help for this health risk behavior.”

This article was published in Benefits Canada

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