smart spending

How much do bad habits cost?

Poor eating habits
Poor eating habits © Nitr/
  • Yearly cost: $432-$4,879
  • Savings after 30 years of compounding interest: $34,153-$385,725

More than 1 in 3 U.S. adults is obese and therefore more prone to obesity-related health conditions, including heart disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They're also prone to higher health and life insurance costs, medical expenses, food and clothing costs, decreased productivity, and lost wages from missing work.

A study by researchers at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., estimates that extra pounds cost the average overweight man $524 per year and the average overweight woman $432. For the obese, costs dramatically increase. GWU estimates that the annual cost of being obese in the United States is $2,646 for men and $4,879 for women.

Weight issues not only drive up costs; they can also prevent consumers from getting the coverage they need, says Kappers.

"Now you see diabetes and weight issues at the top of the reasons why people are getting declined (for life insurance coverage)," he says. "They're hand in hand."


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