Most people struggle with their weight. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 70 percent of Americans are overweight or obese.
Being overweight can affect your life in many ways. It can limit your mobility, affect your self-esteem, and can hurt your health. But, it can also harm you in other ways, especially when it comes to your finances.
5 Ways Being Overweight Can Hurt You Financially
Your weight can affect your finances in the following five ways:
1. You might need more medical help
Obesity increases your risk of developing health conditions like:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Sleep apnea
- Gallbladder disease
Most conditions are manageable with a regimen of lifestyle changes and medication, but getting the medical help you need can be expensive. To keep those conditions in check, you might need to see a doctor more frequently. Depending on your insurance coverage, you might have to pay more copays or even pay out of pocket.
If you do require medicine or treatments, it can add hundreds or even thousands to your healthcare costs.
For example, if you think you may have sleep apnea, you will need to go through a sleep study. According to the American Sleep Association, a sleep study can cost $500. If you’re diagnosed with sleep apnea, your doctor might prescribe a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) device. A CPAP can cost anywhere from $500 to $3,000.
Likewise, treatments for high cholesterol can be pricey, too. Crestor, a popular drug doctors prescribe to lower your cholesterol, costs about $300 per month; if your insurance doesn’t cover it. Over a year, that means you’ll spend $3,600 on just cholesterol medicine.
2. Your quality of life — and potentially your earnings — are affected
Obesity can impact your quality of life. You may experience limited mobility issues, trouble sleeping, and become more susceptible to illnesses. Those issues can hurt your ability to do your job.
With less mobility than you used to have, your job performance might go down. With less sleep, you might not be as sharp as usual and could lose productivity. And, if you’re frequently ill and need to take off work, you might lose wages or even be passed over for plum assignments or promotions.
3. You may need a more expensive insurance plan
Although being overweight doesn’t limit your ability to get a health insurance policy either from your employer or the Health Insurance Marketplace, it can affect your costs.
A healthy individual at the ideal weight for their height likely has fewer health issues and can get away with cheaper coverage. By contrast, if you’re overweight and need treatment for high blood pressure or cholesterol, you might need to pay a higher premium for a better level of insurance to ensure your prescriptions are covered.
4. It’s harder to get life insurance
One little known fact about life insurance is that each insurer has their own height and weight underwriting guidelines. The guidelines outline the allowable weight for each premium. The heavier you are, the more expensive your premiums will be. In some cases, it might become difficult, if not impossible, to find an insurer willing to work with you because of your weight.
Insurers reserve the lowest rates for athletes and fit people with no health conditions. Even if you’re active and eat well, being overweight can cause you to pay higher prices for the same level of life insurance.
5. Obesity can reduce your chances of finding a job
Unfortunately, our society has a bias against overweight people. That bias can affect you in your daily life, even while job searching.
In a study published in Frontiers in Psychology, researchers found that interviewers rated obese job applicants as less suitable for positions than other applicants and discrimination was even higher for obese applicants pursuing physically demanding work. In both office work and physical labor positions, obese individuals faced discrimination.
Battling Weight Gain
Dealing with weight issues can be exhausting and overwhelming. It can limit everything from where you can shop for clothes to what you pay for an insurance policy. It’s easy to get frustrated and fed up with the system.
If you’re struggling with weight gain and worry about how it will affect your finances going forward, consult with your doctor about your options. You may be able to find a nutrition and fitness plan that works for you and helps you feel better.
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