Obesity Takes a Heavy Toll on Personal Finances

by Justin Weinger on July 26, 2011

We all know that being overweight is unhealthy and can lead to a lot of chronic disorders like high blood pressure and diabetes, as well as increased chances for a heart attack and many forms of cancer.  However, did you know that being overweight can have a lasting affect on your personal finances as well?

In an article on Get Rich Slowly entitled “The Financial Cost of Obesity,” April Dykman writes that after years of research, a recent study has been able to quantify the cost of being fat in America:

After tabulating various costs associated with being overweight or obese, the researchers found that being an obese individual in the U.S. costs $4,879 for women and $2,646 for men each year. The overall annual costs of being overweight are $524 for women and $432 for men. The researchers defined “obesity” as a body mass index (BMI) higher than 30, and “overweight” as a BMI between 25–29.

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A balanced diet and regular exercise can help you keep more of your hard-earned money!

Adding the value of lost life to these yearly costs makes the price tag even higher: $8,365 and $6,518 for women and men, respectively.

The analysis showed that obese women pay nine times more and obese men pay six times more in associated costs than do individuals at a healthy BMI. The results also showed that women are affected much more than men when it comes to obesity and job-related costs, including lost wages, absenteeism, and disability.

The report, which was released by George Washington University, can be read by clicking this link.

This seems to make sesnse obesity increases the likelihood of chronic diseases, which certainly are not cheap to battle.  Additionally, if someone is obsese or has had chronic health issues brought about due to obseity, they’re a lot harder (read: expensive) to insure, both for things like health insurance as well as life insurance.

Then, there’s everyday expenses – larger clothes cost more, added weight to a vehicle reduces fuel economy, more food is consumed, etc.  It’s easy to see how all these costs can quickly add up.

These costs are staggering considering they’ve been provided on an annualized basis.  So, if you spend your entire adult life as someone who is obese, you’re going to effectively waste tens of thousands of dollars.  If you would have invested the money instead, you’d be looking at probably a hundred thousand dollar or so nest egg.

This just gives one more reason why it is so important to eat a balanced diet, get plenty of exercise, and lots of sleep.

What are your thoughts regarding this issue?  Leave your comments below and, as always, please pass this post along using the social bookmarking buttons below – especially Facebook and Twitter.


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