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Can losing weight save you money?

Saving at the doctor's office
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Saving at the doctor's office

A person who is obese has annual medical costs $1,429 higher than someone of a normal weight, according to the CDC.

Obese people are at greater risk for many health conditions. That may mean more frequent doctor visits and hospitalizations, which translates into more medical co-payments and more money spent on medications.

"Eat healthy food, exercise, and get enough sleep," O'Neill says. "Fewer doctor visits will save money on those pesky co-pays."

Zagorsky agrees that weight loss can help people save on medical costs, but he points out that returns are not always immediate.

"The problem with being obese is that it leads to lower health outcomes later in life," Zagorsky says. "If you put on an extra 30 or 40 pounds right now, there is no reason to believe that for the next decade you will have more doctor visits than if you keep the extra weight off."

Instead, the effect of a poor diet may not show up until many years into the future. So, people should understand that losing weight may not result in savings right away.

"You will likely save on medications, but this will happen later in life," he says.


 

 

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