What Your Weight May Be Costing You

July 27, 2015

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Have you ever heard the expression “Health is wealth”? The message behind this saying is pretty clear – taking care of your body will help you live a long and happy life, which is one of the greatest treasures of all.

Good health is priceless, but unfortunately poor health has a real, measurable cost. Obesity is one of the biggest threats to your wellbeing, and those living with it face serious financial burdens.

The first and possibly most expensive costs of obesity have to do with medical expenses. Excessive body fat can contribute to serious chronic conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and cancer. According to the Center for Disease Control, obese individuals pay about $1500 a year more in medical costs than those who have a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or lower. That’s 42 percent higher!

Even before these expenses, obesity can take a cut of your paycheck. Of course it is unfair, but wage discrimination based on weight is a confirmed phenomenon, and research has shown strong evidence that obese people are paid less than their thinner counterparts. A study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology found that thin women were paid substantially higher salaries than heavier women. Results from this 25-year long study indicate that American women who gained 25 pounds made $13,847 less per year than a woman of average weight. This translates to $346,000 less made by the heavier woman over the course of a 25-year career.

Don’t forget about money lost from missing work. A study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine found that obesity accounted for an average of 10 percent of total job absenteeism costs nationwide.

So how much do you end up paying? The yearly cost of living with obesity exceeds $6000 for men and is north of $8000 dollars for women, according to research from George Washington University.

The decision to lose weight is your first step to a healthier and wealthier life. One of the most practical ways to save money and lose weight simultaneously is to take control of your eating habits, especially cutting back on unhealthy foods. After you identify the areas you need to improve, you will also find that wealth and health go hand in hand. Let’s take a look at how weight loss can save you money:

Cutting back on unhealthy foods:
Example-Saving $4 a day by cutting out junk food or fast food.
Weekly Savings- $28 Yearly Savings- $1456

Eating smaller portion sizes:
Example- Getting 2 meals from one by switching to a healthier serving size.
Weekly Savings- $8 Yearly Savings- $416

Reducing the number of meals eaten away from home by two:
Weekly Savings- $10 Yearly Savings- $520

If you make these three changes, you will be able to save close to $2000 a year! Seeing the savings may give you the extra motivation to improve your diet and eating behaviors. More importantly, weight loss and a more nutritious diet will improve your health and lower your risk of many chronic conditions.

Bottom line: You have control over your weight and personal finances. Positive changes like weight loss improves your wellbeing and may save you money in the process, making you richer in more ways than one.

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