Obesity Epidemic Takes a Toll On Workers

For years, Americans have heard about the obesity epidemic, and Georgia weighs in as the state with the 19th highest rate of adult obesity at 30.5 percent. The high rate of obesity is, of course, a serious problem for the health of many Atlanta residents. Obesity, however, is also taking a toll on workers’ compensation in more than one way, causing and furthering worker injuries in a variety of fields. If you are seeking workers’ compensation or have any questions regarding your benefits, it is important to speak to a qualified Atlanta workers’ compensation attorney.  

Obesity Challenges for Workers’ Compensation

High obesity rates in the U.S. present unique challenges to the workers’ compensation system. Employees suffering from obesity are not only more likely to become injured while working, but also have greater difficulty recovering completely and returning to work. Typically, obese workers’ compensation claimants miss more days of work than do co-workers of a healthy weight who have similar injuries. One obese worker, for instance, spent over seven months healing from a twisted ankle without reaching maximum medical recovery. Furthermore, research shows that the medical costs for obese workers who are injured are usually higher and the chance of being permanently disabled is increased. Other impacts of obesity on workers’ compensation include:
  • More frequently injured workers;
  • Higher rates of comorbidities, such as diabetes or hypertension;
  • More severe injuries;
  • Greater medical and indemnity costs;
  • Increased risk of permanent disability; and
  • Additional complications in obese patients, ranging from mental health to blood clots.
Additional problems that are becoming prevalent amongst obese workers’ compensation claimants include mental health issues and prescription drug addiction. In addition to being at risk for injury at work and dealing with extensive recovery periods, obese workers are also more likely to develop health issues such as hypertension, coronary heart disease, stroke, and cancer.

Improving Obese Injured Workers’ Outcomes

Obesity is prevalent amongst workers in a variety of industries, including public administration, utilities, transportation and warehousing, healthcare and social assistance, and beyond. Protective service workers, such as cops, security guards, and jailers have the highest obesity prevalence at over 40 percent. With no end for the obesity epidemic in sight yet, it is compensation professionals that must deal with helping improve the outcomes for obese injured workers. To reduce the costs and lost work time, new tools are being developed to measure and cope with claims involving obesity.

Work With an Attorney

Dealing with a work injury is difficult, but it can be far worse when obesity is involved. The injuries may be more severe, costly, and debilitating. If you are an injured Atlanta worker and you are in need of help with workers’ compensation, filing a claim, or understanding your rights, it is important that you speak to a workers’ compensation attorney. At Workers Compensation Lawyers, we are dedicated to helping workers find the compensation they deserve. Call to receive a consultation regarding the specifics of your case.  ]]>