A Paycheck For Being Healthy?!

20 Nov

In July the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention reported that the annual medical costs linked to obesity is $147 billion which is more than 7% of the nations total health care costs. Here is another little stat: last year the nonpartisan Trust for America’s Health, in Washington DC, released a study that concluded that every dollar invested in things like promoting physical activity and improving food choices yielded $5 in health care savings. Now its not hard to do the math here, the return on investment is pretty damn good. Now think about this (someone will probably argue with me on this but bear with me here) eating fattening food and not exercising is a CHOICE! We have a choice to be healthy or not be healthy. So lets go back to the beginning, the people of our country are paying $147 billion in health care costs to provide care for people who choose to be unhealthy. Don’t even get me started on the parents that are feeding their children unhealthy foods and letting them sit in front of a computer or a TV all day. We hear every day on the news about the number of children developing diabetes growing every day due to unhealthy diets and little exercise.

Imagine what we could do with $147 billion. We could give all the money to cancer research. What about using that money to buy more vaccines of the H1N1 flu virus? What if we offset our costs by charging those who choose to be unhealthy higher premiums on their insurance? I know because of some preexisting conditions I have if I were to get private insurance it would cost me more money on premiums. We could also give healthy people a discount, or even give them money to pay for gym memberships or produce costs. The government can put taxes on bad food and give tax relief on produce and healthy foods. How about the government provide counseling for dieting and exercise instead of depression created by obesity? I don’t know what the answer is but I keep thinking how much we could save of that $147 billion if we just made a few changes. (like burn all the corn!)

*Post inspired and stats quoted from “Cash for Clunkers” by Nick Heil, Outside Magazine Nov. 2009 p.40

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One Response to “A Paycheck For Being Healthy?!”

  1. Mel Mel November 24, 2009 at 12:13 am #

    I LOVE this post and couldn’t agree more with you! Thank you for saying this, our society can’t hear it enough!!

    XOXO

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