Can you truly be healthy? Will you ever be able to lose weight and keep it off? The percentage of Americans that are now considered overweight or obese continues to rise, in some areas of the country passing 60%, but, at the same time, some reports suggest that diets fail at a 95% to 98% rate. You might think, “So what! Yeah, I could stand to lose a few pounds, but what’s the big deal?” Better questions to ask are: Can you afford to be fat? Can you afford to be unhealthy?
A recent study from George Washington University added up the cost of being overweight and obese and found, “The individual cost of being obese is $4,879 a year for women and $2,626 for men.” They defined obese as anyone with a BMI of 30 or higher. But wait, there’s more … they also found that obese workers had a 76% increase in risk for short-term disability, as well as a decreased life expectancy of five years in men and four years in women. But there’s even more …
A study from Ohio State University found that every one-unit increase in a young person’s BMI (starting at 30) was associated with an 8% reduction in net worth. As if those numbers are not scary enough, consider this: The increasing percentages of people who are overweight and obese are causing other statistics to change. From 2007 to 2012, there has been a 41% increase in costs associated with diabetes. If you are overweight and either have type 2 diabetes or are on the road to being diagnosed with it, add these costs to your number: The average medical costs for people diagnosed with diabetes is $13,700 per year in the U.S. Indirect costs of having type 2 diabetes include:
· increased absenteeism ($5 billion per year),
· reduced productivity of working adults ($20.8 billion per year),
· inability to work as a result of the disease ($21.6 billion), and
· lost productive capacity due to early mortality ($18.5 billion)
Now, let’s consider another disease with a direct link to being overweight or obese, heart disease:
· 1 in 4 deaths in the United States are due to heart disease.
· 1 in 3 adults (80 million) in the United States have some form of heart disease, stroke, or other blood vessel diseases.
· The number of heart attacks and strokes that occur in the United States is 1.5 million a year.
· Heart disease and stroke cost the nation $312.6 billion a year in health care costs and lost economic productivity.
· At the current rate of growth heart disease will triple in the next 20 years.
As you can see, the economic impact of being overweight or obese is substantial, yet we are faced with the stark reality that 95% of diets fail. So is there really a sustainable solution to this problem?
We are immersed in the information age, with unprecedented access to information, yet we are failing at an extremely high rate. There are a variety of opinions about how to lose weight and get healthy, everything from “the law of positive attraction,” to “prayer,” to reading books or attending seminars with “experts.” Is the secret to success and having what you want really as simple as sending out a prayer or creating a desire for something you want so that it will find you? Most “experts” tell us that the key is to write goals, not just any goal but a SMART goal (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based). Most New Year's Resolutions are perfect SMART goals ... “I will lose 30 lbs. by June.” Is that goal specific? Yes. Is it measurable? Yes, you just have to step on the scale. Is it achievable? Absolutely! Is it relevant? It is if you have more than 30 lbs. to lose. Is it time-based? Yep.. But does it work? Only 2% to 5% of the time. What if, suddenly, the priority changed, and it was no longer something you wanted to do to look better but something that a loved one needed to do?