NU Online News Service, Feb. 17, 2004, 1:37 p.m. EST – Obesity is weighing employers down with fat claims, according to UnumProvident Corp., Chattanooga, Tenn.[@@]

The insurer looked at its own disability claims database and found that it is getting about 10 times as many short-term disability claims attributed to obesity as it was getting in the early 1990s. Obesity now accounts for about 4,000 UnumProvident STD claims each year.

Total medical costs for workers who file claims that are directly or indirectly related to obesity average $51,023 per claimant per year, UnumProvident says.

Obesity-related disabilities cost employers with typical benefits packages an average of $8,720 per employee every year, the company reports.