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Just a Spoonful of Sugar….

Have you ever said to yourself, ‘Just one more scoop of ice cream, what could it hurt.  I deserve it, I had such a hard day. Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, after all”?

Did you know that an extra 50 calories a day will result in the gain of around an extra 20 – 25 pounds over 5 years (3500 calories extra = 1 pound gained)? That extra scoop of ice cream may end up costing you big time, according to some sources.

According to a study done by folks at Washington University (A Heavy Burden: The Individual Costs of Being Overweight and Obese in the United States)   in September 2010, it could cost you more than $4K per year and loss of 4 – 5 years of life itself.

In particular, the study concluded:

“Among the items discussed in this review, overweight or obese individuals bear the full burden for some costs, such as the value of lost life, lost wages, gasoline costs, and, when applicable, life insurance”

“The overall, tangible, annual costs of being obese are $4,879 for an obese woman and $2,646 for an obese man. The overall annual costs of being overweight are $524 and $432 for women and men, respectively. For both genders, the incremental costs of obesity are much higher than the incremental costs of being overweight.

Adding the value of lost life to these annual costs produces even more dramatic results. Average annualized costs, including value of lost life, are $8,365 for obese women and $6,518 for obese men.”

What costs are there?

You have to buy extra food.

Since you have a larger body, you need to eat more calories to satisfy your hunger and maintain your weight. Groceries cost money. Eating out costs money.

You probably have higher out of pocket medical costs.

Yes, insurance will pay for many of your weight related medical issues (and by the way, you are welcome from the rest of us who have to chip in to help cover your costs), but you will probably have more doctor visits, require more medicine and etc, which will result in additional co-pays out of your pocket.

In addition, you may require special at home help (if you become morbidly obese) to perform daily functions such as getting out of bed, or bathing.

You need bigger clothes and they can be more expensive.

More material and more expensive clothing design makes plus sizes prone to being more expensive. It’s hard to look good when you are fat or obese and that makes it harder to find clothes that fit well. Sometimes more expensive brands are cut better for large sizes.

You may have to buy an extra seat on the plane.

Some airlines already charge you for an extra seat if you are over a certain weight limit. Some are proposing that ticket prices vary by a person’s weight.

You lose work time.

Extra weight makes you less productive when you are at work and, according to the Washington University study, causes you to take more days off from work.

You probably spend more money trying to lose weight.

None of us want to be fat. Many try repeatedly to lose weight. Weight loss programs cost money. Gym fees cost money. Medical procedures (such as gastric bypass surgery) cost money.

You may get health insurance penalties due to your weight.

My sister-in-law is a dietitian at a local hospital. The hospital requires her, along with all of its employees, to be screened each year. If their BMI is over a certain limit, they have to pay more for insurance.

You may have to spend extra time for the job.

Some employers are requiring employees with certain health parameters outside of the norm (weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, etc) to participate in wellness programs in order to avoid extra health insurance fees. My sister-in-law’s employer, for instance, requires employees with out of control BMI to work out in the hospital gym once a week.

Your overall net worth may suffer.

Even if you don’t incur any of the above costs, one study has linked overweight and obesity to lower net-worth.

In a study called Health and Wealth The late-20th century obesity epidemic in the U.S  the author reported that:

“The results show a large negative association between BMI and White female’s net worth, a smaller negative association for Black women and White males and no relationship for Black males. Weight changes and dieting also appear associated with wealth changes. Individuals who lose small amounts of weight experience little change in net worth, but those who lose large amounts of weight have a dramatically improved financial position”

Here are a few more resources for your reading pleasure.

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