“For the first time ever, overweight people outnumber average people in America. Doesn’t that make overweight the average then? Last month you were fat, now you’re average – hey, let’s get a pizza!“ — Jay Leno
Have you ever thought about it? How much it costs to be overweight, that is.
According to this article on MSN — the cost is $487 billion. See the article for the specifics on how they came up with this figure.
For here, we’ll just talk about what this means. It means that if you are in good health and not overweight, you benefit from lower gas costs in your car, less material used in your clothes, less visits to the doctor, and increased productivity — to name a few of the benefits. Quantifying some of these can be difficult, but the end point is that we do save money by being healthy.
On a short term outlook, it could be easy to disagree with this. For instance, it’s a lot cheaper to buy a loaf of cheap white bread, some candy, and a jar of Jif peanut butter that it would be to buy quality whole wheat bread, natural peanut butter, and some fresh broccoli. Or going to McDonalds and ordering a Big Mac and fries is quicker (and sometime cheaper) than preparing a meal at home.
But think about it, over time, these short term choices we make have a large impact on our lives. I went through this a few years ago. I drank regular soda everyday, ate at fast food restaurants regualarly, and didn’t spend the time or money to exercise. Slowly I went from being thin and in reasonably good health, to having very poor health and being borderline obese. Since that low point, I have worked hard to live a healthy lifestyle, including eating right and exercising regularly. Has it been worth it? Absolutely! It’s one of the best decisions I have ever made. It’s not always easy, and sometimes I slip up a bit. But in the long haul, I have decided to make exercise and nutrition important elements of my life.
So, whether your in great shape, or have some work to do — make a plan, set some goals, and then get out there and make it happen! You’ll improve your life, and in the long term view, save yourself some money. But the money savings are really just a side benefit, the real deal is you feeling great about yourself and improving the quality of your life!