Home Business Insights & Advice Obesity and the economy: The true cost of being overweight

Obesity and the economy: The true cost of being overweight

by John Saunders
30th Mar 20 1:46 pm

Obesity has been on the rise steadily over the past few decades. It has gotten to the point that it could be considered an epidemic since it has hidden healthcare and economic costs that can be avoided if people were at a healthy weight.

It’s time to start treating obesity like the problem that it has become as it strains healthcare systems and even slows economic growth.

There are some unique ways to treat the problem, including a financial incentive. Some people are even making money by losing weight by essentially gambling on their weight loss as you can see by this Healthwage review.

That is one piece of the puzzle as governments and even corporations seek to mitigate the costs of this problem.

In this article, we will highlight some of the true cost of the obesity epidemic.

Lost productivity

When people are overweight, they get sick more often than somebody with a healthy body weight. This means that they take more sick days and their work productivity is reduced.

This ends up costing companies quite a bit of money in lost work hours every year. To combat this, many companies are doing their best to create a healthy staff by introducing measures to make the workplace healthier.

Measures range from offering discounts on gym memberships to only offering healthy snacks in the office break rooms.

As the workers get healthier, they are not only more productive because they are sick less often, but also are happier. Happier workers will be much more productive.

Strains the healthcare system

Countries with high rates of obesity spend much more of the GDP on healthcare. At some point, it becomes too expensive to treat diseases related to obesity so prevention has to be the focus.

In countries like the USA where health insurance is private, the rise in obesity has also caused a rise in premiums. As insurance companies pay more for treatments, they pass these increases on to their customers.

This causes a sort of domino effect where doctors are too busy which ends up causing wait times for procedures to be delayed and people becoming more sick as time goes on. When a population is healthy, wait times for routine treatments get shorter.

Slows the economy

When people are paying more for their health insurance and for medication, then that is less money going into the economy. For instance, diabetes rates are higher when people are overweight. Insulin can cost people thousands of dollars a year. That alone is money that would be circulating into the economy in the form of increased spending on things like new cars or home improvement.

As we mentioned in the last section, this also costs companies in productivity which in turn means they have less money to pay employees. Either by lost wages or stagnating salaries, obesity is taking money out of the economy.

Conclusion

Besides the economic factors that come with the rise in obesity, there are societal changes as well. For a population to be happy, they also need to be healthy. More governments are making it a priority to combat this issue to create a better society.

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