The Financial Toll of Excess Weight


By: Nikki Nies

I was recently at a neighbor’s house, perusing her Money magazine that was laying on her coffee table.  I’m always up to hear the latest tips on money, yet I wasn’t expecting to read an article on obesity in money magazine.  Yet, there it was, in Money magazine, there was an article called The Economics of Fat to Thin.  With more than 2/3 of Americans overweight or obese, of course, I had to read it.

Some scary statistics, such as:

  • According to the U.S. Center for Disease and Control and Prevention, being obese elevates the risk of coronary heart disease, diabetes, stroke and cancer
  • Annually costs the government an additional $450 billion
  • An overweight person tend to consume more calories, with added costs of an additional $90 billion a year
  • Employers and employees pay a higher life insurance premium; pay out more for  those who are overweight or obese for workers’ compensation
  • The obese spend 42% more on medical care article-2531797-1A5C3A8800000578-940_634x366
  • 77% more on medications than those with healthy weights
  • May spend 48% more on hospital stays
  • The severely obese will have an additional $3000-$10000 in medical costs
  • Obese earn up to 6% less than their thinner counterparts
  • The obese are 1.7 times more likely than leaner peers to take 7 or more sick days
  • “Plus size” and “big and tall” clothes are often more expensive since they require more fabric
  • May need to pay for an additional plane ticket for 2 seats
  • Excess weight can result in decreased fuel efficiency, every 100 lbs could lessen miles per gallon by up to 2% stated by US Energy Department
  • The morbidly obese may deduct 8-10 years from their life span
  • Those with BMI above 30 have 50-100% increased risk of premature death compared to those with healthy weigh

I liked this article because I wasn’t expecting it from  Money magazine.  Their in depth evaluation and impact of excess weight on one’s wallet is eye opening and provides an eye opening additional angle on the problems people can avoid by living a healthier life.


Physical Activity Objectives of 2020



In 2008, the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (PAG) were created, which emphasizes the goal to “improve health, fitness and quality of life through daily physical activity.”  This is a team effort by the Center of Disease Control (CDC) and the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition.
Physical activity covers an array of activities, everything from moderate and vigorous physical activity and muscle strengthening activities.  More than 80% of adolescents and adults do not meet the exercise guidelines. It is hoped with these updated objectives, that the information will be disseminated through all public agencies–schools, communities, organizations and businesses.
The Physical Activity Objectives:
  • Monitor physician counseling about exercise
  • Provide structural environments, such as the availability of sidewalks, bike lanes, trails, and parks
  • Legislative policies that improve access to facilities that support physical activity
  • Physical activity in childcare settings
  • Limit TV viewing and electronic usage
  • Recess and physical education in public and private schools
It may sound menial to list the benefits of physical activity, but why aren’t more people engaging in physical activity if the benefits outweigh the cost?  What’s stopping you?
Family on bikes outdoors smiling
The Healthy People Objectives of 2020 want to provide all the accessibility, ability and confidence to engage in physical activity regularly.  For the future, they recognize the multidisciplinary approach that is required to meet their goals.  Collaboration with education and health care, transportation, urban planning, recreation and environmental health are essential for the future.
  • Prevent early chronic diseases
  • Prevent depression
  • Decreases level of body fat
  • Reduces high blood pressure
  • Improves bone health
  • Decreases stress levels
  • Improves cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness
  • Associated with a higher income
  • Enjoyable scenery
  • Social support from family and friends
  • Belief in one’s self–self efficacy