Losing weight can lead to many benefits—better self-image, more energy, improved sleep, and, most important, less risk of developing chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. There’s no doubt that dropping pounds can dramatically improve your life both socially and physically.
The report, which was published in the journal Obesity, was based off a computer model that researchers built. The model was designed to predict healthcare costs for Americans ages 20-80, depending upon whether a person was obese, overweight, or at a healthy weight. The researchers discovered that if an obese 20-year-old could whittle himself down to merely overweight, he could save almost $18,000 in medical costs and productivity losses over his life. If he got all the way down to a healthy weight, he could save a whopping $30,000.
And for those of you who might be a few decades past 20, consider this: For a 40-year-old, the savings were $19,000 and a little over $30,000, respectively.
So why the study? It’s estimated that the 70% of overweight and obese adults in the U.S. incur more than almost $210 billion in direct medical costs alone each year. "Most previous models have taken into account one or a few health risks associated with obesity. Subsequently, the forecasted costs may be unrealistic," said study co-author Saeideh Fallah-Fini, Ph.D., a former Global Obesity Prevention Center visiting scholar. "In our study, the model we developed takes into account a range of immediate health complications associated with bodyweight, like hypertension or diabetes, as well as all major long-term adverse health outcomes, including heart disease and some types of cancer, in forecasting the incremental health effects and costs to give a realistic calculation."