Posts Tagged ‘Society of Actuaries’

Do you think weight is a personal issue? Think again. Extra pounds affect everyone in some way.

The Society of Actuaries released a dollar figure on obesity in January, 2011. Based on reviews of 500 articles between 1980 and 2009, researchers looked at the relationship of obesity to mortality and morbidity. Overweight and obesity cost as much as $270 billion a year in the United States. Because of increased need for medical care and loss of economic productivity due to death and disability, cost to the U. S. economy in 2009 ranged from $72 billion for the overweight to $198 billion for the obese.  Economic expenditures from overweight and obesity in both the U. S. and Canada were:

  • Total cost of excess medical care resulting from overweight/obesity: $127 billion
  • Loss of economic productivity due to excess mortality: $49 billion
  • Loss of economic productivity due to disability for active workers: $43 billion
  • Loss of economic productivity due to totally disabled workers: $72 billion

Obesity results in several adverse medical conditions. Obesity increases per-capita spending for those expenses and for health-related lost productivity. Costs run as high as $16,000 for obese women who weigh at least 100 pounds more than a healthy weight and $15,000 for obese men.

Although many workers are unwilling to attempt healthier lifestyles, monetary enticements through company programs influence decisions. In a survey of 1,000 Americans 18 years and older, 83 percent stated they would be willing to follow a healthy lifestyle, such as health and wellness programs, if their healthcare plans provided incentives.

While those with excess weight face greater risks of medical problems and decreased longevity, the problem goes beyond themselves. Issues of too much weight are no longer personal. They impact the national work force and our economy. Excessive weight costs everyone.

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