Research: Lose Weight, Save Money

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Employee weight loss results in organizational study


There have been studies that looked at the individual saving money if they lose weight.  In general, if you eat less, you will save money on food.  I am sure you will also save money on health care and potentially on transportation costs since your car now has less weight to move.  It just seems like a no-brainer, but what is the effect on an organization’s cost?  

If an employee is healthy, it makes sense that it would cost less for their medical care, but also, being healthy should result in less absenteeism overall.  Absenteeism is a huge loss for most businesses so companies have a financial incentive to support initiatives that will increase worker availability.  Increased availability will lead to increased productivity and profits for the business and less overall medical costs.  

A 2017 study by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health looked at this very issue​[1]​.  The study,  “The Additional Costs and Health Effects of a Patient Having Overweight or Obesity:  A Computational Model,” was published online on the Obesity website.  The study was performed using a computational model to look at BMI status, chronic health status, health outcomes, and their associated costs for an adult at different age points throughout his or her lifetime.  The study found that incremental costs of a patient with obesity or overweight (versus normal weight) increased with the patient’s age, peaked at age 50, and decreased with older ages. However, weight reduction even in older adults still yielded incremental cost savings.  

This finding is not surprising in the slightest because medical care goes up with many conditions with obesity or increased BMI.  A high body mass index has been linked to a higher risk of conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, sleep apnea, and some cancers.  The amazing thing to me is that the average healthy 20-year old could save a business nearly 30 thousand dollars if they go from obese to a healthy weight.  This number is nothing short of amazing.  The problem is this is a computational model, and real-world research is needed to confirm the results.  

The bottom line: Weight loss improves your health and lowers not only your expenses but also enhances the profits for your employer and reduces medical costs. 

[1]Fallah-Fini et al., “The Additional Costs and Health Effects of a Patient Having Overweight or Obesity: A Computational Model.”


  1. Fallah-Fini, Saeideh, Atif Adam, Lawrence J. Cheskin, Sarah M. Bartsch, and Bruce Y. Lee. “The Additional Costs and Health Effects of a Patient Having Overweight or Obesity: A Computational Model.” Obesity 25, no. 10 (September 26, 2017): 1809–15. doi: 10.1002/oby.21965

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About the Author

I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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