A factor frequently implicated in the current obesity epidemic is the sedentary nature of many jobs. The unanimous consensus of the medical community is that a 40-hour-a-week stint at an office desk is a primary contributor to weight gain. As the American job market has shifted from manufacturing work to desk jobs, the problem has only gotten worse.
A 2010 study in The Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine found that the obese were less productive in the workplace than their counterparts of average weight. The study found that rates of presenteeism went up as body mass index (BMI) did, so female employees with a BMI between 30 and 34.9 lost 6.3 days’ worth of productivity per year, while males with BMIs over 40 lost over three weeks’ worth of productivity. Taken together, the study estimated that obesity among full-time employees in the U.S. cost employers more than $73 billion per year.