Economic consequences of sick-leave and early retirement in obese Swedish women

Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 1996 Oct;20(10):895-903.


Objectives: To describe the pattern of sick-leave and disability pension in an obese sample and to estimate the Incremental, indirect cost due to sick-leave and early retirement for the obese fraction of the Swedish female population.

Design: A retrospective study of sick-leave and disability pension in health examined obese subjects was performed. The indirect cost of obesity in Sweden was estimated from reported and recorded sick-leave and disability pension in the sample and from the estimated prevalence of obesity in the country.

Subjects: 1298 obese persons aged 30-59 y. The mean age was 46 years. The mean body mass Index was 39 kg/m2 (range 28-68).

Setting: The obese subjects were recruited from eight counties in Sweden.

Results: As compared to the general Swedish population the obese subjects had 1.5-1.9 times higher sick-leave during one year. Twelve percent of the obese women had disability pension while the corresponding figure in the general population was 5%. The incremental cost of sick-leave and disability pensions attributable to obesity was 3.6 billion SEK during one year, which is equivalent to about 300 million USD per million female adult population. The total cost for sick-leave and disability pension due to absence from work for the obese fraction of the Swedish female population was 10.5 billion SEK during one year.

Conclusion: Obesity represents a major health problem with significant economic implications for the society. Approximately 10 percent of the total cost of loss of productivity due to sick-leave and disability pensions in women may be related to obesity and obesity-related diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Body Mass Index
  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / economics*
  • Pensions*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sick Leave / economics*
  • Sweden