Obesity and sickness absence: results from a longitudinal nationally representative sample from Germany

Aufsätze referiert extern - Web of Science

Katrin Christiane Reber, Hans-Helmut König, André Hajek

In: BMJ Open 8 (2018), 6, e019839


Objectives The current study aimed at investigating the longitudinal association between obesity and sickness absence in women and men in Germany.Methods Data were derived from the German Socio-Economic Panel (GSOEP) which is a nationally representative, longitudinal study of private households in Germany. We draw on data from 2002 to 2012. Information on self-rated body mass index has been collected every second wave since 2002. Sick leave days (total number of working days missed due to illness in the past calendar year) and sick from work for more than 6<U+2009>weeks in the preceding 12 months (yes/no) were used as outcome measures. Fixed-effects (FE) regression models were used for the total sample and stratified by sex. Gender differences were examined using interaction terms (sex × weight category).Results Controlling for several potential confounders, Poisson FE regression analysis showed that transitions from normal weight to obesity were associated with an increase in sick leave days in women (incidence rate ratio (IRR) 1.27, 95%<U+2009>CI 1.02 to 1.57) but not in men (IRR 0.85, 95<U+2009>% CI 0.68 to 1.06)—with significant gender differences (sex × obesity, p&lt;0.01). Moreover, conditional FE logistic regressions showed that transitions from normal weight to overweight were associated with an increase in the probability of long-term absenteeism in women (overweight, OR 1.41, 95%<U+2009>CI 1.08 to 1.85) but not in men (overweight, OR 0.84, 95%<U+2009>CI 0.65 to 1.09). Gender differences were significant (sex × overweight, p&lt;0.01).Conclusions Our findings stress the longitudinal association between excess weight and increased likelihood of sick leave days as well as long-term absenteeism in women.