Losing Weight Can Save You a Lot of Money
Here's exactly how much.
BY Sarah Rense | Sep 29, 2017 | Fitness & Health
In the U.S., more than 70 percent of adults are overweight or obese, which costs them a total of $210 billion in medical expenses alone. Obviously, that is a huge sum. But according to new research from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, losing weight could save them a whole lot of money.
The study focused on what happens financially when someone breaks out of the obesity bracket and reaches a healthier weight, whether that means moving a level down to overweight, or making the jump to a healthy weight. The CDC defines an obese BMI is 30 or above, an overweight BMI is 25 to 30, and a healthy BMI is 18.5 to 25. (Measure yours here.)
Here's how the study results breakdown in terms of average savings from direct medical costs and lost productivity over a lifetime:
- If a 20-year-old adult goes from being obese to overweight, they save $17,655.
- If a 20-year-old adult goes from being obese to a healthy weight, they save $28,020.
- If a 30-year-old goes from being obese to a healthy weight, they save $27,331.
- If a 40-year-old adult goes from being obese to overweight, they save $18,262.
- If a 40-year-old adult goes from being obese to a healthy weight, they save $31,447.
- Savings peak at age 50, when going from being obese to a healthy weight saves you $36,278, and decrease with age from there.
The researchers used BMI—higher BMIs are associated with medical problems like heart disease and diabetes—and a simulation to calculate estimated direct medical costs to the insurer and healthcare facility and productivity losses (like having to miss work for medical reasons).
Of course, BMI is a tricky tool to determine how healthy someone is. It only takes weight and height into account, and does not factor in someone's fitness or wellness levels. Still, consider this added motivation to exercise at least 2.5 hours a week and eat somewhat responsibly. There isn't a person alive who would say no to those extra thousands.