If not for your health, how about your wallet?

The Rising Costs of Being Obese

Let the following statistics (https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/obesity-prevention-source/obesity-consequences/economic/), about the increasing costs of medical expenses faced by obese individuals, sink it.

“Several investigators have evaluated the cost of obesity on an individual level. Finkelstein and colleagues found that in 2006, per capita medical spending for obese individuals was an additional $1,429 (42 percent higher) compared to individuals of normal weight. (7) Cawley and Meyerhoefer, meanwhile, found that per capita medical spending was $2,741 higher for obese individuals than for individuals who were not obese-a 150 percent increase. (1)

Thompson and colleagues concluded that, over the course of a lifetime, per-person costs for obesity were similar to those for smoking. (10) In middle-age men, treatment of five common obesity-related conditions (stroke, coronary artery disease, diabetes, hypertension, and elevated cholesterol) resulted in roughly $9,000 to $17,000 higher costs compared to normal-weight adults.”

Most people don’t make great decisions when it comes to their health. This is best evidenced by the nurse taking care of you at the hospital that is far too heavy and prone to smoke breaks during her shift. S/he knows they aren’t modeling healthy behavior for their patients, or themselves; but that doesn’t keep them from ingesting thousands of empty calories, smoking, and/or not exercising.

I have found that speaking to someone about their poor health now, or the future, is often met with dismissal. There is always a litany of excuses about why a person is unable to start on a path to health and wellness. These take the form as follows:

  • Too busy taking care of others
  • Too busy working
  • Don’t know how to get started
  • Don’t know how to eat healthier
  • Afraid of going to a gym because they are heavy
  • Fear of being judged because of their weight
  • Don’t have the money to invest in a gym membership
  • etc., etc,…

Keeping in mind the difficulty I have faced over the years speaking to someone’s sensibility, I would like to take a different approach. Forget for a moment the physiological toll being obese takes (this list is long), the monetary toll is astounding.

Being obese is going to bankrupt you. Being unhealthy in general is expensive. Reread the first two paragraphs again. The amount of money an obese person will spend in a year/lifetime is staggering.

I’d like to share a quick story with you. My brother, Adam, was diagnosed with Type-2 Diabetes a couple of years ago. He ate himself into that condition and at the time of his diagnosis was around 70 pounds overweight. As a provider of health and fitness (and co-owner of SBG Athens with me) he was far from a good role model. This was something he knew but seemed somewhat powerless to remedy. I believe he battled with it on a daily basis.

Learning that he had diabetes and finally having a doctor tell him he was at risk of losing his sight and his life, he decided to do something about it. Not all people are like Adam though. His IQ and intellect allowed for him to study and research his disease (as well as his stunning knowledge of strength and nutrition) to the point that his doctor consults with him on his own treatment. I don’t believe for a second my brother is the only person ever to walk into a doctor’s office and be told they were on a path which ended in death.

I understand that most people aren’t willing to do the research and learn about how to be healthy. It can be pretty simple though. You can get out and walk, stop snacking, eat smaller meals, and drink water instead of soft drinks just to name a few. As a one time business mentor told me, “You either do it yourself, or pay someone else to do it for you.” What that means is, you either cure yourself by learning about proper nutrition, weight loss, strength training, etc.; or pay someone else to do it for you.

Think about how much money you will spend on hospital visits, cardiac surgeries, increased insurance fees, and on medications. Don’t forget the money lost due to absence from work (as well as lost time with your family and loved ones), and long term disability. These are the costs you will pay for being unhealthy. Why instead wouldn’t a person choose to invest their money in a fitness program that can alleviate those expenses over time? If you aren’t willing to make a decision with your head, maybe I can get you to make a decision with your wallet. It certainly can’t hurt any more than you are presently hurting yourself.

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