Millions of Americans struggle to pay their medical bills, and 11.7% of Americans lack health insurance according to Gallup. We understand that health care is expensive, but the fact is one of the easiest ways to save money is to live a healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately for the 40% of adults who are obese according to the 2017 National Center for Health Statistics study, they are not living healthy.
Obesity leads to a number of issues. Countless studies show that being overweight can lead to diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and many other problems. Studies even show their income can be less than others. When it comes to finances, what do all of those have in common? They all cause the individual to have higher health care needs, so therefore higher costs for medical bills, more prescription drug expenses, and worst.
The Center of Disease Control among many other government as well as non-profit organizations say there is an obesity crisis in this nation. We agree since 40% of adults fall into this category. What so many people do not consider is all of the financial impact to being overweight, both from higher health care needs as well as possible lost job opportunities. The CDC also shows that about 9.3% of Americans are diabetic, and that cost is very high. For those that need it, find help acquiring diabetes medications.
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) reports that 430,000 cases of cancer was linked to obesity in 2014. In other words, if those people were not overweight, then they may very well be cancer free today. Cancer of course leads to higher medical needs, but also a shorter life span.
A study done by Harvard University shows that obesity leads to a 42% increase in medical bills! That equates to about $1800 more per year on average. Of course, for some people that extra cost of being overweight will be higher, and others lower, but the average cost is close to $2000 per year, per person.
Now multiply that by per person. So, if a household has 2 obese adults, they could be spending an extra $3000 to $4000 per year on their medical bills. In addition, Gallup shows that about 18% of teenagers are obese as well as of 2017. They too would have higher health care needs.
Sadly, the trend is going in the wrong direction. There were studies held in 2000 as well that also reported on obesity. When comparing the 2017 data to those data from 2000, they should about a 33% increase in the number of obese adults.
The obesity crisis is hitting all races and ages as well. Hispanic adults have an obesity rate of around 47%, and black adults about 46%. Their percentages are slightly higher than whites, who come in in the high 30% range.
Incomes are also impacted. A study done by Yale several years ago indicated earnings can be 5 to 10% less for an obese adult than someone who is in “shape”. The impact is even more significant for obese women, who are on the high end of that scale.
What to do?
The fact is the solution is very simple. It is eat less food (and healthier food) and exercise more. That is it! That is key to losing weight, as well as maintaining it. This is what is called prevention.
It is never too late to start. While the adult obesity rate continued to increase from 2000 to 2017 as indicated below, if people just took some quick, simple steps to live healthier they could turn things around. A healthier lifestyle could lead to less medical bills, more enjoyment from life, and even more money from a job!