Economic Costs of Unhealthy Living
Review the excerpts below to learn how unhealthy living can be damaging to your personal economy. Click “Read Article” to open the article which the excerpt is referencing.
MENTAL HEALTH IN THE WORKPLACE
Loss of productivity in the workplace due to depression and anxiety is $1 trillion per year. Those who suffer depression and anxiety are often unable to attend work- which leads to employers having lower productivity. For the government, this leads to higher health welfare expenditures (World Health Organization).
THE HEALTH BENEFITS AND ECONOMICS OF PHYSICAL ACTIVITY
Physical inactivity and obesity are responsible for 500,000 premature deaths and $100 billion in health care costs annually in the U.S (Myers, 2008).
ECONOMICS OF LIFESTYLE PREVENTION OF TYPE 2 DIABETES
In 2012, the medical costs of diabetes was $176 billion in the U.S., with cost of productivity lost at $69 billion. Diet and physical activity programs have been found to be cost-effective when delivered to persons at an increases risk of type 2 diabetes. When delivered in groups, these programs are considered economically efficient, especially for those with limited resources and an increased demand for services. Research has found that there is a median incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) for diet and physical activity promotion programs of $13,761 per quality-adjusted life year (QALY) (Li et al., 2015).
ECONOMIC BURDEN OF OBESITY
Researchers propose that obesity accounts for 10% of health-care costs due to the large cost of preventing, treating, and managing this condition. These researchers did a systematic review of direct and indirect costs of obesity. Through a review of 9 papers that analyzed individuals above the age of 18 and found that obesity accounts for 31.8% of direct health care costs and 68.1% of indirect costs. They concluded that an obese person spends 32% more in medical costs than does the person at a healthy weight. This highlights the need to develop programming and support to decrease obesity and subsequently healthcare costs (Yusefzadeh, Rahimi, & Rashidi, 2019).
THE LIFETIME COSTS OF BAD HEALTH
Researchers have examined the economic costs associated with living an unhealthy lifestyle. They found that poor health can have an affect on an individual’s economic standing in four ways: decreased productivity, making individuals less useful at work, lowers survival probability, and increases medical spending. As an example, a healthy 65 year-old with a high school degree has $230,000 in wealth as compared to an unhealthy 65 year-old with a high school degree who has $120,000 in wealth. On average, healthy people accumulate 28% more wealth than those who are unhealthy. While living healthy may be perceived as “expensive”, these findings illustrate that ultimately a healthy lifestyle provides more economic benefits than living unhealthy (De Nardi, Pashchenko, & Porapakkarm, 2017).
Lifetime Costs of an Individual with Obesity
A recent study examined the economic costs of obesity and overweight at different ages across the lifespan. They found incremental lifetime costs of an individual with obesity or overweight, as compared to normal weight, increased with age until peaking at age 50. For example, they found that a 20 year-old with obesity had a lifetime cost of $28,020, while a 20 year-old who is overweight adds $10,365. For age 50, an individual who is obese adds $36,278 to their lifetime costs, while being overweight adds $16,169. These costs include the loss of productivity and the costs of medical care. The study implies that for a 50 year-old who is obese, losing weight and moving into the normal weight range can save them $36,278. Even moving from obese to overweight can save a 50 year-old $20,109 (Fallah-Fini, Adam, Cheskin, Bartsch, & Lee, 2017).