Impact of school staff health on work productivity in secondary schools in Massachusetts

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Family Medicine and Community Health; Department of Medicine, Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine; UMass Worcester Prevention Research Center

Publication Date


Document Type



Absenteeism; Adult; Depression; *Efficiency, Organizational; *Faculty; Female; Health Status; Humans; Longitudinal Studies; Male; Massachusetts; Middle Aged; Obesity; Risk Factors; Schools; Smoking; Socioeconomic Factors


Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Occupational Health and Industrial Hygiene | Preventive Medicine | Primary Care


BACKGROUND: Healthy, productive employees are an integral part of school health programs. There have been few assessments of work productivity among secondary school staff. This study describes the frequency of 3 common health risk factors--obesity, depressive symptoms, and smoking--and their impact on work productivity in secondary school employees.

METHODS: Employees of secondary schools in Massachusetts (N = 630) participated in a longitudinal weight gain prevention intervention study. Assessment completed at baseline, 1-year and 2-year follow-up included survey assessments of health risk factors as well as measurements for height, weight, and body mass index (BMI). The survey also included a depression inventory and Work Limitations Questionnaire. Data analysis included multivariate mixed effect models to identify productivity differences in relation to BMI, depressive symptoms, and smoking in this population stratified by position type (teacher and other school staff).

RESULTS: The sample included 361 teachers and 269 other school staff. Obesity, depressive symptoms, and smoking were significantly associated with work productivity, including workdays missed because of health concerns (absenteeism) and decreases in on-the-job productivity because of health concerns (presenteeism).

CONCLUSIONS: Three common health conditions, namely obesity, depressive symptoms, and smoking, adversely affect the productivity of high school employees.


depressive symptoms, employee health promotion, mental health, obesity, school employee health, smoking and tobacco, work productivity

DOI of Published Version



J Sch Health. 2015 Jun;85(6):398-404. doi: 10.1111/josh.12266. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

The Journal of school health

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID