A longitudinal study on the relationship between weight loss, medical expenditures, and absenteeism among overweight employees in the WAY to Health study.

Journal Article (Journal Article)


To quantify the extent to which successful weight loss among overweight/obese employees translates into subsequent savings in medical expenditures and absenteeism.


This analysis relied on medical claims and absenteeism data collected from overweight/obese employees at 17 community colleges in North Carolina.


We find no evidence that participants achieving at least a 5% weight loss experienced reduced medical expenditures or lower absenteeism during the 12-month weight loss intervention or in the subsequent 2 years.


These results suggest that a quick return on investment from weight loss programs, even effective ones, is unlikely. Nevertheless, as with other employee benefit decisions, the decision about whether to offer weight loss programs should take into account many factors, such as employee health, in addition to the potential for a quick return on investment.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Finkelstein, EA; Linnan, LA; Tate, DF; Leese, PJ

Published Date

  • December 2009

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 51 / 12

Start / End Page

  • 1367 - 1373

PubMed ID

  • 19952786

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC2813269

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1536-5948

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1076-2752

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1097/jom.0b013e3181c2bb56


  • eng