NU Online News Service, June 19 2:41 p.m. EDT

Indemnity benefit duration of obese workers’ compensation claimants is over five times longer than non-obese claimants, a new study says.

The National Council on Compensation Insurance says it compared obese claims to comparable non-obese claims, matching all claim characteristics exactly except for age at injury. The matching claims were then analyzed using a model that accounts for the possible nonlinear influence of age. 

NCCI says in its study, “The study shows that, based on Temporary Total and Permanent Total indemnity benefit payments, the duration of obese claimants is more than five times the duration of non-obese claimants, after controlling for primary ICD-9 code, injury year, U.S. state, industry, gender and age.”

NCCI says its study follows a Duke University study of its own employees, which pointed to substantially higher odds of injury for workers in the highest obesity category. That study tallied workers’ compensation claims for Duke University and Duke University Health System employees over an eight-year window, and classified the employees into six BMI categories ranging from underweight, to recommended weight, to overweight and three classes of obese. 

That study concluded that medical costs for morbidly-obese employees were 6.8 times higher than for recommended-weight employees. Morbidly-obese employees were also twice as likely to have a claim, and missed almost 13 times more days of work.