Employee Obesity and Productivity

I just read a white paper by Leade Health called “Employee Obesity is Number One Factor in Productivity Loss.” The organization is of course trying to get businesses to sign up for its “health coaching” program for weight management, which I’m sure has merit, BUT…is obesity REALLY the number one factor in productivity loss?  I mean, come on!  More than useless meetings?  Hundreds of emails every day?  Co-workers “dropping in” to chat?  Surfing the Net and doing personal business?  Those things affect all of us, regardless of our shape and size.

The paper cites research that a Body Mass Index (BMI) at risk (>27) yields an average productivity loss of 5.79 hours per week in absenteeism, disability costs, and worker productivity, which is even higher than productivity loss related to smoking. The total productivity loss per employee with an “at risk” BMI, factoring in an average salary of $17.25 per hour over 48 weeks, equates to approximately $4794 per year.

I would dare say many, many workers lose more than 5.79 hours a week on timewasters completely unrelated to their weight.  So, readers, WEIGH IN!  Do you believe this study?