You hear it all the time.
"Healthy food costs too much!"
"I can't afford a gym membership!"
To many, living a healthy lifestyle is a financial burden they aren't willing to bare. And it's true, fresh food is often more expensive than the packaged stuff in the center aisles. The gym membership thing can't really be used as an excuse anymore with all the free online videos and at-home workouts available. But eating fast food and watching TV on the couch will always be cheaper than the healthy alternative, right?
Not so fast.
What if I told you that being overweight was costing you $524 per year as a woman and $432 per year as a man. And that's just being overweight. If you have a BMI that falls into the obesity range (30+) those numbers jump to $4,879 and $2,646, respectively.
And you thought organic apples were expensive!
The numbers above come from a study at George Washington University School of Public Health. With more than 60 percent of the United States population being overweight or obese, the cost of the obesity epidemic is coming to the forefront of policy discussion for both the government and employers. After all, it is not just the individual that incurs these costs. Employers sponsor health insurance policies and lose productivity when their staff is out sick, and the government spends almost 9.1 percent of it's annual health care costs on obesity-related issues.
The obesity epidemic extends far beyond what many realize. Obesity is associated with an increase in type II diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, hypercholesterolemia, asthma, sleep apnea, musculoskeletal disease, stomach ulcers, gallbladder disease, chronic liver disease, and certain types of cancer.
All of that means an increase in work absences, short-term and long-term disability coverage, and yes, even death. The main cost for individuals is direct medical costs, but have you considered the price of gasoline to and from appointments, lost wages, and value of life lost?
This is a big deal. And if the current trend continues, 50 percent of the population will be obese by 2030. There is already so much debate over the future of health care, and now it's predicted that almost 18 percent of national health care expenditures in 2030 will be attributable to obesity.
Want to help keep costs down? Get healthy!
Corporate wellness programs are becoming increasingly popular, as spending a little money on keeping employees well has been proven to reduce costs spent if employees get sick. Still, far too many aren't making it a priority.
Eating right and exercises are all too often seen as just a means to look good in a bathing suit. The toned abs are a nice side effect, but the main reason to think about diet and exercise is avoiding illness and feeling great. Our bodies need to be taken care of if we want to live long, active lives and maintaining a healthy weight is incredibly important.
Some might say it's priceless.
Clare Brady is a Healthy Living Blogger currently living in Dallas, Texas but originally from St. Louis, Missouri. On her blog, Fitting It All In, Clare shares her experiences with living a healthy lifestyle while balancing a busy schedule. Currently she is working full-time as advertising account executive, seeing clients as a Certified Holistic Health Coach, exercising often, cooking as much as possible, and making sure to spend time with friends. You can find Clare on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.