April 8, 2014

Saving Money and Losing Weight? The Two Go Hand and Hand

So you’re resolved that you will lose weight and save money this year? That’s a laudable goal and in fact, these two things are quite compatible with one another.  Yes, losing weight is great for you on its own.  You will not only gain energy, but huge health benefits as well.  However, did you know losing weight can help you save more than $5000 per year for things like transportation, insurance and other health costs?  It’s true, and new research indicates that the gains of weight loss truly go beyond just what we see in the mirror.

A recent study by George Washington University found that the overall annualized costs of being overweight in the US, relating to higher bills, an average salary that is lower and lost wages due to health problems is approximately $500 per year.  For the 33% of the US that is considered obese, this number is even larger: between $2500-5000 per year.  Of interest is not only the increased medical expenses such people incur over their lives, but also how it holds back our careers, advancement and income levels as well.  This study cleared showed a correlate between weight and average salary.

Three Major Areas You Can See Gains from Weight Loss

Save Money and Get HealthyIf you’re looking to get rid of a lot of unwanted weight, there are ways to do so and at the same time fill your wallet as well.  We hope some of these reasons only serve as a motivating factor for your success:

  1. Reduce Your Medical Bills – This is likely the most obvious thing that you reduce by losing weight, but it’s also extremely important to consider.  According to the GWU study which was cited above, those who are overweight (BMI 25-29) spent an additional $346 annually on direct and indirect medical costs.  However, for those considered obese (BMI >30) this was $800-2800 per year.These costs originated primarily from increased prescription drugs, as those who are overweight typically have worse overall health and more chronic health problems. Diseases such as diabetes are actually caused in large part by the person’s weight.  The GWU study did not attempt to calculate the risk factors for long term ailments which can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to treat, such as heart disease, heart failure, or other chronic health effects.   Type 2 diabetes, for example, costs the average person $80,000 over their lifetime.
  2. Make More Money at Your Job – Not only does being overweight cost you when it comes to your medical bills, but it also impacts your ability to make money at your job and advance your career.  Despite our best intentions, people are still judged by their outer appearances.  In a 2011 study it was found that obese women made less money annually by approximately $5800 than their normal-weight counterparts.  This trend was further confirmed by the GWU study cited here.  There’s an inverse relationship with weight and income.Studies have identified many reasons this inverse relationship occurs, including biases against the overweight.  Obese workers historically work fewer days and make less doing so, they have a lower chance of promotion and less ability to move up within a business sector.  This is just a simple reality of the world we live in, and it’s unlikely to change much in the future as this trend has been persisting for generations according to research.  Absenteeism related to health problems that the overweight or obese face also directly impacts your career.
  3. Reduced Fuel and Transport Costs – This one is probably a bit of a surprise, but you actually use substantially more gas driving around if overweight than you may realize.  Fuel efficiency of a car will improve roughly 2-3% per 100 pounds removed from that car.  If someone, or multiple people, who drive together lose weight, the fuel costs will drop significantly.  In the US, if a person were to lose 50 pounds, their fuel costs would drop by around 1.5% annually.  The average fuel costs annually in the US are approximately $2000, so this is a savings you can take to the bank directly once you lose weight and get healthier.

Sure, the benefits to your appearance, health and energy are probably enough on their own to warrant strong attention to weight loss.  If you needed any more motivation, however, you need look no further than your wallet for why you need to get healthy and stay in shape.