Personal finance bloggers are always writing about ways to save money. Your health is an area that is often overlooked and is directly tied to how much money you are able to save. If you are unhealthy, you have to spend extra money on prescriptions, doctors visits, hospital stays, etc that could otherwise have been used to grow your nest egg. This is why it’s important to focus on preventative measures to avoid unnecessary medical costs down the line.
A study was recently published in the journal Obesity that looked at lifetime financial costs of being overweight or obese depending on age. Here is how the authors describe the method of their study:
A computational Markov model was developed that represented the BMI status, chronic health states, health outcomes, and associated costs (from various perspectives) for an adult at different age points throughout his or her lifetime.
The authors created a simulated person at various ages to investigate the potential third-party (medical bills), productivity losses (lost salary, doctor visits, passing away early), and societal costs (taxes, insurance premiums). They did this for ages 20 – 80 and for three categories (obesity vs. normal weight, obesity vs. overweight, and overweight vs. normal weight).
The study found on average that an obese 20 year old would spend at least $28,000 over their lifetime due to their weight. An obese 40 year old will spend more than $30,000, an obese 60 year old would spend more than $34,000, and an obese 80 year old would spend more than $16,000. The societal costs that you and I will have to spend on them is equally as large at over $28,000 for a 20 year old, over $31,000 for a 40 year old, over $34,000 for a 60 year old, and over $16,000 for a 80 year old.
These numbers are based on median wages, so making a high salary will result in higher productivity losses. Also, the study only looked at four potential medical conditions stemming from obesity (stroke, cancer, heart disease, and diabetes). Most likely these costs are an underestimate. They do not take into account the rising costs of healthcare in this country. They also do not look at other affects to your finances like term life insurance where you pay more if you are overweight.
If you have not considered losing weight yet to better your health, maybe you will consider it to better your finances. Start as soon as you can and don’t keep putting it off. Make a permanent resolution today instead of waiting for the New Year.