puzzleThe Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine has published a study from the Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO) that shows improved job performance and reduced absenteeism were present in employees who were healthy eaters and exercised regularly. Absenteeism was found to be 27 percent lower for these employees. Additional performance findings include:

• 25 percent of healthy eaters were more likely to perform better than unhealthy eaters.

• Employees eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables at least four days per week were 20 percent more likely to perform at a higher level.

• Employees exercising for at least 30 three times per week were 15 percent more likely to have higher job performance.

The results suggest that in order to improve job performance and decrease absenteeism, companies should implement work-site interventions involving both health management and engagement strategies. The study found that work environment is also of primary importance when determining job performance.

“This latest study investigating the link between employee health, performance and productivity reinforces the business case for employers to provide comprehensive, evidence-based health management programs for their workforce,” said Jerry Noyce, president and CEO of HERO.

The impact of obesity on job performance was also a major topic of research. Findings include:

• Non-obese employees demonstrated an 11 percent higher job performance rate than obese workers.

• Obese workers with a history of chronic illness and activity limitations were more likely to have recurring absenteeism.

• Compared to workers with depression and other chronic conditions, obese workers, on average, experienced both higher absenteeism and reduced job performance levels.

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