America's Lifestyle Diseases Cost the Economy over $153 Billion per Year

Lifestyle diseases such as obesity, hypertension, diabetes, cancer and depression are costing the American economy $153 billion per year in lost productivity.

Based on data collected via the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, researchers concluded that chronic health conditions such as obesity, hypertension, high cholesterol, cancer, diabetes, asthma, depression and recurring physical pain resulted in 449,847,652 days missed from work… and an estimated productivity loss of $153,398,049,221 per year.

And it gets worse.

  • This calculation doesn’t include productivity lost when employees show up at work but are less productive because of their poor health.
  • As well, the Gallup people didn’t speak with part-time workers.

Previous research which included these factors found that America’s chronic lifestyle diseases cost the nation up to $1.1 trillion per year.

And that’s a lot of money.


Maybe enough money for the government to start throwing some cash into health promotion programs?





  1. Great article Doug!

    I'm tryingg to infuse some healthy ways to celebrate Halloween with this video: Shrink and Boo.

    Can't say "the devil made me eat it".

    Happy Halloween,

    Ellen Resnick

  2. To be fair, there are plenty of lean, healthy people who take all of their sick, personal and vacation time — not because they need it because they’re fat and depressed, but because it’s healthy to take time off from work.
    I wouldn’t say its costing our economy anything because it’s time that’s technically already accounted for in an employee’s salary/benefits.
    So, I feel this chart is a little misleading. Yes it’s true — overweight people will have unhealthy days and potentially need to use their sick time. But if you’re healthy and not taking any sick time, you’re going to have a lapse in productivity too unless you take some time off.

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