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Obesity and Workers’ Compensation Obesity and Workers’ Compensation

Obesity and Workers’ Compensation

Workers’ compensation claims involving obesity have higher indemnity and medical costs. A 2007 study from Duke University Medical Center found that obese workers filed twice the number of workers’ compensation claims as non-obese workers. The medical costs were seven times higher, and they missed 13 times more days of work due to their injuries.
Early intervention with an obese claimant can help mitigate related health conditions and achieve a successful return to the workforce. Claims adjusters should ask about the claimant’s height and weight during the initial intake process of a claim. This information can help make an early determination of the appropriate treatment for an injured worker who is obese and may suffer from related comorbid conditions that could exacerbate claims costs. It may also be advisable to place a nurse case manager on these types of claims to help determine appropriate treatment options.
Employers can help reduce the impact of obesity on workers’ compensation claims by implementing wellness and healthy workplace initiatives. Consider offering healthier cafeteria food including a salad bar, having a gym on the premises or offering free or discounted gym memberships for employees and encouraging movement during work breaks.
For more information, contact Jennifer McDaniel or another member of our Worker's Compensation Group.

This publication is intended for general information purposes only and does not and is not intended to constitute legal advice. The reader should consult with legal counsel to determine how laws or decisions discussed herein apply to the reader’s specific circumstances.
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