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The Physical and Financial Costs of Obesity

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  • Losing just a few pounds can make a big difference in your health and improve your quality of life.

Being a foodie doesn’t mean being a glutton. Enjoying the quality of food over the quantity of food can allow you to eat what you love without overindulging.

Let’s talk about the costs of obesity and how being overweight impacts your health, health insurance, and life insurance.

You may be surprised at how much of an impact being overweight can have on your life and finances. If you wonder about one of the financial costs, a life insurance weight chart can show you how much those added pounds can affect your rates.

Losing just a few pounds can make a big difference in your health and improve your quality of life.

Health Consequences of Obesity

Obese people, when compared to those of a healthy weight, are at a higher risk for many severe diseases and health conditions. According to the CDD (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), negative effects on your health include the following:

  • Cancer
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Gallbladder disease
  • High blood pressure
  • High LDL cholesterol/low HDL cholesterol
  • High levels of triglycerides
  • Low quality of life
  • Mental illnesses like depression and anxiety
  • Osteoarthritis (a breakdown of cartilage and bone within a joint)
  • Sleep apnea and breathing problems
  • Stroke
  • Type 2 diabetes

Obesity is a factor in the leading causes of death in the U.S. and worldwide. You may be surprised to learn that obesity is also a serious mental health issue. It is also associated with poor mental health outcomes and quality of life; obesity impacts all aspects of life.

Making Healthy Changes

Deciding to make changes to your diet and lifestyle is the first step. When you choose to be healthier, it’s understandable to hope you see results quickly. But people who lose weight gradually at a rate of 1 to 2 pounds a week are more easily able to maintain the weight loss.

Making real improvements to lifestyle habits include long-term changes in daily eating habits and adding regular exercise. Habits take time to develop, and they won’t happen overnight. It is not about a particular program or diet.

People who successfully maintain a significant weight loss reported improvements in physical health and energy levels, physical mobility, general mood, and self-confidence. Many successful people use weekly meal planning to help form a new routine.

Even Modest Weight Loss is Beneficial

Losing weight is not easy, and it takes commitment. Realize that even a weight loss of 5% to 10% of your body weight can produce health benefits. Losing just 5% of your body weight significantly improves blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and blood sugar.

Making Healthy Changes

Many of us have developed bad eating habits. Making lasting changes requires a thoughtful approach. Reflect on where you are now. Deciding to change your diet and lifestyle is a big step.

To get started, try making a list of your eating habits. Keeping a food diary for a few weeks can help you understand your patterns. Also, pay attention to how you feel when you decide to snack if you find you really are not hungry.

After several weeks of noting what you eat and how you feel, you will probably notice some patterns. You may realize that you snack when you are stressed out or tired.

Also, pay attention to whether you are eating very quickly or skipping meals. Do you still try to clean your plate? Do you often eat dessert? Maybe you skip breakfast, which can lead to irritability and overeating later in the day.

Try to identify anything that leads to overeating and develop a plan to be more aware of these triggers. Make a plan to help you move past them. Recognize your progress and plan rewards for yourself, like a walk or visit to a park.

Sticking to Your Plan

Eat only when you’re truly hungry instead of when you are tired, anxious, or feeling an emotion besides hunger. If you find yourself eating when you are emotional, or experiencing boredom or anxiety, find a non-eating activity instead. You may find a quick walk or phoning a friend helps you feel better.

Continue to plan your meals ahead of time. You might enjoy learning new recipes and trying different kinds of food. Add some variety to your menus. You may find that you enjoy foods that you haven’t tried before. Try some vegetarian recipes or add some other interesting foods.

Remember to add regular physical activity. Even a quick walk around the block several times a week helps maintain your weight and improve your mood. The more physical activity you can add, the more calories you will burn.

Add Regular Physical Activity

Burning calories through physical activity while reducing the number of calories you eat creates a calorie deficit that results in weight loss. Evidence shows that the only way to maintain weight loss is through regular physical activity.

Regular physical activity reduces the risks of cardiovascular disease and diabetes beyond what is produced by weight loss alone. Physical activity also helps reduce pain and disability from arthritis and reduces the risk of falling.

Try to get around about 150 minutes of regular moderate physical activity each week. Strong evidence shows that regular exercise can help maintain your weight. The exact amount of physical activity needed to do this can vary from person to person.

Moderate physical activity includes brisk walking, light yard work or housework, playing with the kids, or casual bicycling.

The vigorous exercise would include swimming laps at the pool, jogging, skiing, or jumping rope. You could also opt for a game of tennis or join in some team sports.

Getting to and staying at a healthy weight requires both regular physical activity and a healthy eating plan. Work up to 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise, or a mix of these each week.

Be Patient With Yourself

Habits take time to develop. Developing new habits won’t happen overnight. Practice your new, healthy habits and be patient with yourself. It is thought that forming a new habit takes around 21 days.

Don’t beat yourself up if you slip up or skip your evening walk. Just reset yourself and be persistent. Do not make the mistake of thinking a day or two will blow your whole plan — it won’t.

Soon you’ll be on your way to being a healthier, happier you. Before you know it, you’ll feel better, and as an added bonus you will find that you are saving on your health care, medications, and insurance needs.

Alexandra Arcand writes and researches for the life insurance comparison site, She is passionate about living a healthy lifestyle and enjoys sharing her knowledge with others hoping to do the same.

Medical Device News Magazine
Medical Device News Magazine provides breaking medical device / biotechnology news. Our subscribers include medical specialists, device industry executives, investors, and other allied health professionals, as well as patients who are interested in researching various medical devices. We hope you find value in our easy-to-read publication and its overall objectives! Medical Device News Magazine is a division of PTM Healthcare Marketing, Inc. Pauline T. Mayer is the managing editor.

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