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The Effects of Obesity on Your Finances

Studies from the Center of Disease Control and Prevention indicate that 67 percent of the US adult population is overweight (BMI of 25-29) and 34 percent are obese (BMI 30+). Many people are aware of the physiological implications of being obese, but are they aware of the financial impact obesity has? The United States Department of Health and Human Services estimated that obesity accounts for 9 percent or as much as $78 billion in direct costs of total U.S. medical expenditures. Direct costs are expenses attributable to preventive and diagnostic services. Taxpayers covered about one half of these expenses through Medicaid and Medicare. Combined Medicare and Medicaid costs due to obesity are approximately $37.6 billion.

Being overweight or obese has significant financial impact on individuals’ wallets. Being overweight or obese may mean up to 4 times higher life insurance premiums compared to normal weight individuals. Obese individuals can expect to pay 10 times higher lifetime medical costs related to chronic diseases like Type 2 Diabetes and Hypertension than their normal weight counterparts. The average yearly cost for prescription drugs for diabetes is $680, heart disease is $627, and hypertension is $502. Living a healthy lifestyle can reduce the need for medications and can put hundreds of dollars back in one’s budget to spend on other items. Instead of spending money on prescription drugs, one can reward themselves with a 3-day cruise to the Bahamas (starting at $400) or season tickets to the Atlanta Falcons (starts around $650/ ticket).

Here are some resources to help you lose weight and incorporate healthy behaviors in your lifestyle.

1.    Attend an Expo: At many health fairs or health and wellness expos, vendors from various health and wellness disciplines are available to answer questions.

2.    Research: To learn more information about chronic diseases go to major health organizations website like the Center for Disease Control or the American Heart Association.

3.    Join a gym or hire a fitness professional: After joining the gym, be sure to ask questions and enlist the support a personal trainer to assist in creating routines that work.

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