How Does BMI Affect Productivity in the Workforce? An Exploration of Active and Sedentary Roles in the U.S. Population

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Monica Das


This thesis will examine the overall impacts that obesity (BMI) has on productivity characterized as the number of hours typically worked per week and will then compare this relationship between active and sedentary industries. The data was obtained from IPUMS 2010 Health Survey. The overall findings of this paper reveal that there is a negative correlation between BMI and number of hours worked per week, supporting my expectations and most of the previous literature. The findings also suggest that individuals in active roles have a higher productivity penalty, missing 1.21 more work hours per week than those in sedentary positions who miss 0.71 hours per week compared to their healthy weight counterparts. This paper will address previous literature on the topic, my own econometric model as well as limitations to my study.

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