The United States reportedly spends $270 billion each year on obesity related costs. A new study reveals that Canada spends only $30 billion each year, a great deal less than their over-achieving (or maybe just over-eating!) American neighbors. In comparison, it would be easy to praise Canadians for their low numbers, but even a ‘mere’ $30 billion on a nearly 100 percent preventable issue is a little absurd.
The Society of Actuaries broke down the combined $300 billion dollars spent and it looks a little something like this:
- $127 billion for medical care
- $49 billion to cover loss of productivity due to obesity related deaths
- $115 billion to cover the costs of disability and the resulting loss of productivity because of disabled workers
It’s still hard to know what all of this means, but the message remains clear: the obesity epidemic is affecting us both physically and economically.
Economic status seems to be a key factor when one examines the overall health of our country. Low income families often can’t afford high quality food. They work more, which leaves less time for meal preparation and exercise. When a family of four is living paycheck to paycheck, the dollar menu at McDonald’s starts to look like a mighty fine idea. Ultimately, saving the money and avoiding high quality, whole foods is costing us more than we’re saving, and I’m speaking both economically and metaphorically, of course. Besides the staggering $300 billion being spent on obesity, the quality of life that an overweight person experiences can leave much to be desired. Obesity increases your risk of detrimental diseases of both the mind and body.
The reality is that so much in life remains beyond our control. We can’t fix everything but we can make smart decisions for ourselves and our families. $300 billion is a lot of money, and if we ever want the politicians and lobbyists to stop wasting our dollars, maybe we should start taking our own advice.
Via USA Today
February 17th, 2011