Diabetes is a highly prevalent condition that results in substantial morbidity and premature mortality. We investigated how diabetes‐associated mortality, disability, early retirement, and work absenteeism impacts workforce participation.
We used the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), a national household sample of adults aged 51–61 in 1992, as a data source.
We conducted cross‐sectional analyses on the baseline HRS data, and longitudinal analyses using data from eight years of follow‐up. We used two‐part regression models to estimate the adjusted impact of diabetes on workforce participation, and then estimated the economic impact of diabetes‐related losses in productivity.
Diabetes is a significant predictor of lost productivity. The incremental lost income due to diabetes by 1992 was $60.0 billion over an average diabetes duration of 9.7 years. From 1992 to 2000, diabetes was responsible for $4.4 billion in lost income due to early retirement, $0.5 billion due to increased sick days, $31.7 billion due to disability, and $22.0 billion in lost income due to premature mortality, for a total of $58.6 billion dollars in lost productivity, or $7.3 billion per year.
In the U.S. population of adults born between 1931 and 1941, diabetes is associated with a profound negative impact on economic productivity. By 1992, an estimated $60 billion in lost productivity was associated with diabetes; additional annual losses averaged $7.3 billion over the next eight years, totaling about $120 billion by the year 2000. Given the rising prevalence of diabetes, these costs are likely to increase substantially unless countered by better public health or medical interventions.