Press Release

Study Highlights Impact of Chronic Conditions on Working America

A report released today by the American Hospital Association (AHA) quantifies the toll common chronic conditions such as asthma, diabetes and hypertension take on American workers.  These three chronic conditions cause working Americans to miss an estimated 164 million work days each year at a cost of $30 billion to employers.  Of these three conditions, asthma takes the greatest toll.

"Millions of Americans are unnecessarily suffering from chronic conditions," said Rich Umbdenstock, AHA president and CEO.  "One thing today's study demonstrates is the need to keep people feeling better - able to go on with their lives and work.  We can manage chronic conditions.  The message is clear, preventive medicine and wellness programs must be central to our health care system."

  • For every 1,000 working Americans, an estimated 1,221 work days are lost each year due to asthma, diabetes and hypertension.
     
  • Nationwide, asthma accounts for roughly 900 missed work days per 1,000 working Americans with the greatest impact in Rhode Island, Maine and Massachusetts where more than 1,200 work days were missed.  South Carolina and Hawaii were least affected by asthma per 100 workers.
     
  • Missed work days related to diabetes was highest in Mississippi and West Virginia while Colorado and Minnesota had the least diabetes related missed days.  Nationwide, diabetes accounts for an estimated 112 days missed per 1,000 working Americans. The lost work time is estimated to cost employers $2.8 billion.
     
  • In California, hypertension alone accounts for an estimated 2.8 million lost work days each year.  Nationally, hypertension accounts for 200 days missed per 1,000 employees in the Southeast but fewer than 160 days missed in the North and Southwest.

Progress in preventing and treating disease has added approximately 30 years to Americans' life expectancy since the beginning of the 20th century but among working Americans, the incidence of chronic conditions is on the rise.  According to Harvard economists, a one year improvement in the life expectancy of the U.S. population translates into a four percent increase in gross domestic product (GDP), an increase currently equal to about $540 billion.  Recognizing that healthy people are essential to a healthy and productive economy, more employers are linking health status to better employee quality of life and improved day-to-day productivity. 

A copy of the study with the complete methodology can be found at www.aha.org.

About the AHA

The AHA is a not-for-profit association of health care provider organizations and individuals that are committed to the health improvement of their communities. The AHA is the national advocate for its members, which include nearly 5,000 hospitals, health care systems, networks, other providers of care and 43,000 individual members. Founded in 1898, the AHA provides education for health care leaders and is a source of information on health care issues and trends. For more information, visit the AHA website at www.aha.org.

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