It’s been a while since our last lesson, ready for part 3?
The more I think about this topic, the more I realize how applicable this type of “financial thinking” is to nutrition.
This week, let’s take a look at the more substantial side of the analogy.
If you remember back to the post Hyper Tense, you might recall a little statistic I spat out regarding the cost of buying healthful foods.
Think back, it wasn’t that long ago.
If that’s not a big enough hint for you, wipe that drool from your mouth and look away from the donut burger.
So $1.50 is all it takes to eat what most Dietitians consider a healthy diet. The cost of a soda, or your morning bagel, is all it takes.
Sure, $1.50 a day would add up. $45 a month, 547$ a year, $35,555 for your approximately 65 years of independently financed meals (assuming ~20 years of support from others).
You’re looking kinda pale over there, have a seat, take a deep breath. I’ve got some worse news for you.
According to a recent study conducted by Blue Cross Blue Shield, obesity is expensive. Really, truly, immensely expensive.
The breakdown goes like this.
The average adult patient of healthy weight spends about $3722 on healthcare each year. No small sum, but that’s the BASELINE.
The average Overweight patient can expect to spend an extra $321 each year (keep in mind this is a 174 lb male at 5’10” or a 146 lb female at 5’4″)
We’re not done yet, oh no. Moderately Obese patients see a massive jump, spending $996 more than their health weight counterparts (210lb male at 5’10” or 175lb female at 5’4″)
Lastly, our Severely Obese Patients skyrocket to the top spending a whopping $3395 more than baseline. Granted this last measure includes the 500+ lb individuals you’ve seen on tv, but the figure is still astounding.
All of this is a lot to process, so I made a graph to show the difference between this $1.50 a day and relative cost of healthcare.
So in just 10 years, moderately obese individuals will pay an additional $4,500 over a healthy weight individual eating healthy food. That’s right, you’re paying twice as much to be less healthy. Let’s not get started on the Severely Obese, I think the graph speaks for itself.
Now, I do realize that eating healthy is in fact slightly more expensive in the long run than being moderately overweight by these metrics. Not surprising in fact given the debate surrounding whether a BMI of 25-29 is as bad as we’ve been told. However, at a difference of about $200 a year between the two, we’re talking just 50 cents a day to keep the doctor away.
What would you spend for better quality of life? How about lower risk of cancer? Higher self-esteem? If your answer to any of these is 50 cents or higher, you’re that much closer to affording a better future.
Be good to each other.
– Joshua Iufer, RD