The relationship between overweight and obesity, and sick leave: a systematic review

D.C. Duijvenbode, M.J.M. Hoozemans, M.N.M. van Poppel, K.I. Proper

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Objective: To investigate the relationship between overweight and obesity and sick leave. Design: Systematic, qualitative review. Literature search: A search in diverse databases was performed. Studies were considered as relevant if they were longitudinal in design and investigated the relationship between overweight and obesity and sick leave. Data extraction: The methodological quality of the studies was evaluated with a quality criteria list. To draw conclusions, a best-evidence synthesis was applied. Results: Thirteen studies were included. Four out of seven found overweight to be a predictor of long-term sick leave, whereas the remaining three showed a positive trend, but did not observe significance. Of the five studies investigating the relationship between overweight and short-term sick leave, inconsistent results were shown. Seven out of eight studies investigating the relationship with long-term sick leave found obesity as a significant predictor of long-term sick leave. In contrast, there were inconsistent results between the five studies examining the relationship between obesity and short spells of sick leave. Conclusions: Although this review found inconclusive evidence for a relationship between overweight and sick leave, a clear trend was discerned in that overweight was a predictor of especially long spells (>7 days) of sick leave. As regards obesity, there was strong evidence for a positive relationship with sick leave because of the consistent finding that obesity was a significant predictor of long-term sick leave. © 2009 Macmillan Publishers Limited All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)807-816
JournalInternational Journal of Obesity
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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