OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to test the hypotheses that individuals with obesity are at higher risk of unemployment and sickness absence and have a lower chance of getting employed compared with individuals with normal weight.
METHODS: Data on weight and height were collected at baseline from 87,796 participants in the Danish National Health Survey 2010. Participants were then followed in national registers for 5 years. Outcome measures were transitions from employment to unemployment and sickness absence and the transitions from unemployment or sickness absence to employment. Data were analyzed by Cox proportional hazards models adjusted for potential confounders.
RESULTS: Hazard ratios for unemployment were 1.18 (95% CI: 1.10-1.26) for individuals with obesity and 1.27 (95% CI: 1.14-1.41) for individuals with severe obesity compared with individuals with normal weight. Participants with obesity also had a higher risk of sickness absence. Additionally, participants with obesity who were unemployed at baseline had a lower chance of becoming employed compared with participants with normal weight.
CONCLUSIONS: Obesity was associated with a higher risk of unemployment and sickness absence compared with individuals with normal weight. Additionally, obesity was associated with a lower chance of employment.