New Study Finds Diabetes’ Impact on Productivity
A recent Diabetes Care study of an Australian dataset detected that diabetes not only hurts productivity, but that it could be costing the country billions of dollars. This study was one of the first to quantify actual productivity losses associated with diabetes, specifically calculated by productivity-adjusted life years (PALYS), a measure using age-specific mortality rates and a productivity index attributable to diabetes.
The study found that men had a PALYS reduction of 11.6% and women 10.5%, which means productivity decreased by over 10% across the represented population. Based on this data, researchers projected that if diabetes did not exist, Australia’s gross domestic product (GDP) could improve by about $60.6 billion.
Furthermore, the study found the impact of diabetes on productivity was highest among younger people, ranging from 20-24 years old, which happens to be the subset who will theoretically be in the workforce the longest. This suggests that although all generations’ health is important, employers may want to use the opportunity to focus on their youngest employees especially, and offer them programs and tips to prevent or manage their diabetes.
Even though this data is specific to Australia, the numbers may translate to the United States—especially since the prevalence of diabetes is about 10% in both countries. Not to mention, the ADA recently estimated that both direct and indirect costs of diabetes in the US was $327 billion, up 26% from 2012.
These findings support the notion that the diabetes epidemic must be controlled, and that workplaces have a unique and essential opportunity to help. If they don’t, their employees, and their bottom line, could suffer.
This article is not intended to substitute for informed medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.