Personal Finance 

How Extra Pounds Cost You

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Lose Weight, Save Money!Remember way back in January when you made that resolution to get serious about losing weight? You said, “this is the year that I actually do it and quit talking about it.” How’s it going so far? Two/thirds of Americans are now overweight or obese and out of the 45% who made the resolution to lose weight, a sad 7% will actually follow through and have results to show for their efforts.

There is no doubt that the reason that you should think about shedding the extra pounds is for yourself and because you want to be there for your family and friends for years to come but there are financial reasons too. Numerous studies show that obese people make less money than those who are thin. Is it fair? No. Is it ethical? No. Is it reality? Yes, and that’s what we have to address when talking about money.

Costs to the Nation

Not only does obesity affect the person but the nation’s obese cost the country a combined $100 billion each year. But the goal is to give you a reason to start down a path of improved health so let’s look at some numbers. If you’re a woman, you spend an average of $830 per month more to service your obesity where men spend an average of $650. What would you do with an extra $8,000 next year?

Let’s assume that you’re a 37 year old woman who is obese and over 3 years you lose enough weight to cut that $830 down to $400. If you took the money you saved each year and invested it in a retirement account at a conservative 4% interest rate, after 20 years you would have an extra $132,000! Of course these numbers are approximate but one thing is clear: Those who are not overweight save a considerable amount of money on yearly expenses.

Now it Gets Really Unfair

How about at the office? The Journal of Applied Psychology found that an average woman who weighed 104 pounds was paid as much as $22,000 more annually than a women weighing 164 pounds. One theory that the authors described was that a woman who cares enough to take care of themselves is a better care taker of company affairs. If she can’t take care of herself, she can’t take care of the company. It may not be fair but the authors found evidence to suggest it.

And Even More Unfair

We’ve beat up on the women but for the men, there is very little correlation between overweight and less pay. In fact, being a bit obese may actually be a good thing for their paycheck. 207 pounds seems to be the sweet spot for the best paycheck in males which is approximately 15-20 pounds overweight for a six foot male.

Finally, because severely overweight people die 10 years earlier than their thinner counterparts, the loss of income that comes from an early death and the extra days missed at work adds up for companies, insurance companies, and the individual. Insurance companies report paying an extra $1,400 per year for each obese policy holder.

You can live a fulfilled life being poor and healthy but it’s exceedingly difficult to live the life you want being rich and sick. Money may be a small motivating factor in your quest for health but much more important than that, you have people in your life that care deeply about you and your absence would not just affect you, but also those who care about you. Be healthy for yourself first, your loved ones second, and somewhere down the list, for your money.

(Photo: alancleaver)

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2 Responses to “How Extra Pounds Cost You”

  1. Wilma says:

    Well I’m one of the 7%. I made up my mind I was going to do something about the extra 6o Lbs. I’m down 14 Lbs so far. There are many health benefits to watching what you eat. Your teeth will benefit too. I have a sweet tooth that is in love with anything chocolate. I also snack all day long. It’s a carry over from working 17 years of night shift. I’d snack all night long to keep me awake and alert. Added pounds and lots of teeth issues. The added pounds hurt your joints if your on your feet walking concrete floors. So lose the weight. Your body will thank you. I already feel better and am getting around easier.

    Insurance companies are offering incentives like paying less for your health insurance. We have a program at work that if you get all your tests done, do what the doctor tells you and don’t smoke you get a discount on your insurance premium. I only participate in the no smoking discount because I really don’t want to hear the doctor yapping at me about my weight. I’m doing my best.

  2. David M says:

    Does late year count?

    For over 20 years of my adult life I was 170-175 lbs.

    Finally last January I decided to shed the extra weight.

    With the help of WII Fit I went from 173 Pounds to140 pounds. I lost 23 lbs last year and another 10 pounds this year.

    My BMI has dropped from about 25.5 to 22!

    I have never felt better in my adult life!!!!!

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