You’ll Be Shocked To Learn How Costly it is Being Overweight

Overweight people could save thousands each year, especially in their later years, just by losing weight, new research claims.

Money may be saved by not forking it out on the fatty junk food and sugary treats often known to cause weight gain, however the new study has focused on the healthcare costs saved following losing weight.

Those overweight or obese will have obvious physical changes in their appearance, however the extra pounds can also increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, certain types of cancer, such as breast cancer and bowel cancer and stroke. This in turn leads to additional costs going on treating the condition(s).

Researchers from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland, analysed the possible link between body mass index (BMI) and the amount of money a person paid for healthcare per year.

They looked at people aged between 20 and 80 and wanted to see if different age groups felt a decrease in medical bills in accordance to weight loss.

Results were consistent across the age groups for all age groups and were reported in the journal Obesity. The findings explained that a 20-year-old person losing weight and going from obese to overweight (a BMI over 30 to less than 30) would save on average $17,655.

However, it was discovered that if the person changed from being obese to a healthy weight, (a BMI over 30 to less than 25) an average of $28,020 would be saved.

The amount of money that people saved was found to peak by the time the person reached the age of 50, with an average $36,278 being saved simply from losing weight, going from obese to a healthy BMI.

“Over half the costs of being overweight can be from productivity losses, mainly due to missed work days but also productivity losses. This means that just focusing on medical costs misses a big part of the picture, though they’re a consideration, too,” said Dr Bruce Y. Lee, executive director of the Global Obesity Prevention Center (GOPC) at Johns Hopkins, speaking to Medical Xpress.

“Productivity losses affect businesses, which in turn affects the economy, which then affects everyone,” he added.

Shockingly, over a third of adults in the United States are obese, according to the CDC, whereas the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation claim that one in four British adults is obese.

Across Western Europe, Britain’s obesity level is worse than every other country, ahead of France, Germany, Spain and Sweden. Obesity levels in the UK have more than trebled in the last 30 years and current predictions pit over half the population being obese by the year 2050.

Europe’s obesity league:

  • UK: 24.9%
  • Ireland: 24.5%
  • Spain: 24.1%
  • Portugal: 21.6%
  • Germany: 21.3%
  • Belgium: 19.1%
  • Austria: 18.3%
  • Italy: 17.2%
  • Sweden: 16.6%
  • France: 15.6%

Source: The State of Food and Agriculture 2013 (PDF, 2.44Mb), United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization.

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