How so? Here are just a few figures on what it costs to be “unwell.”
- Overweight and obesity costs total $117 billion in the United States each year.
- Annual medical expenses for employees ranges from $114 for normal-weight individuals to $573 for overweight individuals to $620 for the obese.
- A Cornell University study (Dec. 2007) recently reported that obesity-related sick days cost employers $4.3 billion a year in 2004 dollars.
- Type 2 diabetes costs related to overweight and obesity: $98 billion per year.
- Osteoarthritis costs related to overweight and obesity: $21.2 billion per year.
- Hypertension (high blood pressure) costs related to overweight and obesity: $4.1 billion per year.
- Lost productivity costs related to obesity (BMI > 30) among Americans ages 17-64: $3.9 billion per year.
OK. But, what does it cost to walk around the block?
What does it cost to make better nutritional choices?
What does it cost to change behavior in modest but meaningful ways?
That’s why we say “wellness is free stuff.” And that’s not all.
- Physically active people save an average of $500 a year in health care costs.
- Adults gain two hours of life expectancy for each hour of regular physical activity.
- Substitute water for one 20-oz bottle of regular soda each day and save enough calories to lose 26 pounds in a year.
- Take the stairs. For a total of 2 minutes, five days a week, you’ll get the same calorie-burning results as a 20 minute walk. It burns 100 to 140 calories.
- Sit up straight to eat—and you’ll eat about 10 percent less.
- The average person makes about 200 food choices each day. When making those choices, pay attention to plate size, package size, and the people around you. By using smaller plates and bowls, you will eat up to 60 percent less (if you don’t go back for seconds).
It’s a start. Walk the dog, play with the kids, think before you eat. Free is good. Free wellness is really good.