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Lose Weight, Save Money (and America)

The good, the bad and the ugly things we learned about our bodies today

Let’s list all the ways being overweight is terrible for you: It’s terrible for your health, duh; it’s terrible for your relationships; it’s terrible if you’d ever like to get quality sleep; and now, you can add that it’s terrible for your wallet, too.

Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health wanted to understand just how expensive being obese is. In a study published last month in the journal Obesity, they focused on the high costs associated with medical care, as well as productivity losses due to missed days of work.

What they found was that a 20 year-old who went from obese to simply overweight could expect to save an average of $17,655 over his or her lifetime. If the same 20 year-old went from obese to a normal weight, they would save on average $28,020. That’s a lot of money!

If you’re 40, 50 or even 60 years old, you’re probably like, “Welp, sounds like I missed my chance to save almost 30,000 bucks, excuse me while I go tuck into a pint of Ben and Jerry’s,” right? Not true.

Overweight middle-aged people and seniors would be on track to save even more money than their 20-year-old chubby brethren, to the tune of over $31,000, $36,000 and $34,000 for a 40-, 50- and 60-year-old, respectively.

If raking in the extra cash just from losing weight still isn’t enough, think about your skinny friends who are helping to foot the 38 percent of our $2.45 trillion in mandatory spending built into the federal budget that pays for Medicare. If everyone who’s obese or overweight decided to collectively get down to a normal weight (and save $30,000+ each in the meantime) society as a whole would save even more come tax day.

So let’s recap: If you’re overweight and you start taking your weight loss seriously, you’ll most likely live a longer, happier life, you’ll save thousands of dollars and you’ll balance the budget. Who doesn’t want to get behind that?

A few other things we learned about our bodies today: