We all know that eating healthy food and getting regular exercise helps us maintain good health, prolonged life expectancy, gives us more energy, and makes us feel happier. Let’s face it, healthy eating and exercising can make a significant difference to the way we look and feel.
But what if we don’t eat healthy food? However you choose to live, recent research tells us that two thirds of New Zealand adults are either overweight or obese. The impact of obesity can have a huge effect on the individual concerned and their family. This is because obese people are at a far greater risk of developing many medical problems such as diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, stroke, osteoarthritis and some cancers to name just a few. This post focuses on the personal costs of eating an unhealthy diet.
If you developed one of the medical conditions noted above, and you couldn’t work for a period of time because of severe illness or while you waited for treatment, would you cope financially? Do you have an emergency fund stashed away somewhere in times of financial need? Would you want to wait months or possibly years from diagnosis to get publically funded treatment when you could have access to a private hospital in a matter of weeks? Would that alleviate the emotional stress on you and your family and enable you to get on with living?
If you are not in a financial position to be able to absorb these types of costs, such as private medical care or just meeting your day to day living expenses whilst you are not working, then the alternative is to try and transfer those costs to an insurance company. However, it is well worth noting that insurance companies do not regard obesity favourably due to the increased health risks related to obesity.
According to a study completed in the US, an obese person costs 42% more to treat than a person of normal weight. Health and Disability insurance plans pass these costs onto the individual via higher premiums (i.e. a loading) or they may even impose an exclusion (i.e. they won’t cover a particular condition) if they deem a particular risk too great.
Maintaining a healthy diet and weight will not only have a positive impact on your health and wellbeing, but will reduce your risk of developing a major medical condition. This may in turn save you a lot of money on insurance costs.